A prevailing belief permeating through the club this offseason is that things would be status quo, in terms of their lack of acquiring big-time talent from outside organizations. But, before the true onset of free agency, the Bengals added Glenn and veteran defensive tackle Chris Baker to their roster over the course of five days.
Maybe tigers can change their stripes.
Overall, the excitement level of adding the 28-year-old tackle has the fan base excited. But, as with any major acquisition for an NFL club, there are aspects of a player’s game that must be analyzed.
Thanks to “Skarekrow” of SB Nation’s Buffalo Rumblings, we got an in-depth look at some of Glenn’s NFL abilities. In case you missed it, here is some of what the Bengals can expect in 2018 and beyond.
And, here is a recent breakdown of the trade ramifications via NFL.com:
(P.S. if/when the national media slams the Bengals on this trade, at least remind them how to properly pronounce “Ogbuehi”.)
Benefits of adding Glenn:
The Bengals add a proven veteran to anchor their embattled offensive line: It’s no secret that Cincinnati’s offensive line was the Achilles heel of the team in 2017. Whether it was their allowance of Andrew Whitworth to leave in free agency, or the lack of development with Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher, the team’s hand was essentially forced this offseason.
There are plenty of options in the draft at tackle, but many of those rookies have question marks beyond the usual “unproven player” status. Connor Williams has injury questions, Mike McGlinchey has teams wondering about his overall positional fit, while Orlando Brown had an abhorrent showing at the NFL Combine.
In short, Glenn anchors one of the most important positions in NFL football at left tackle. The position was an absolute mess last year and while Glenn may never play at the level of Whitworth, he’s eight years younger, is a solid player and is under contract with the Bengals for the next three years.
Glenn has positional flexibility: The Bengals swung the deal for Glenn with the explicit idea that he’d slide in and solidify the left side of their line. Between his talent and his ability, the left tackle spot is his for the foreseeable future.
However, if the Bengals end up in another injury-riddled pinch, as was the case at the end of 2017, Glenn has experience at guard. At the University of Georgia (which seems to be a breeding ground for Bengals prospects), Glenn played left guard while being flanked by Clint Boling at left tackle. Should Boling get injured, or issues arise on the right, he could theoretically swap spots, if absolutely needed.
Allows Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher and others battle it out for the right tackle spot: At the time, the Bengals were lauded for having the foresight to draft Ogbuehi and Fisher as heir apparent replacements to the aging Whitworth and Andre Smith. Because of a myriad of issues, it hasn’t worked out anywhere near the level than the organization had hoped.
Now, with Glenn in the fold, Cincinnati has a great and, for most intents and purposes, heated battle at right tackle. They may bring in Smith to add more competition and/or a rookie to push things, but Fisher, Ogbuehi and others will be fighting for their NFL careers now.
And, in a season where the team has made it known that they are looking to heavily rebound from two straight losing seasons, competition should be the theme in 2018. And, given the respective issues we’ve seen from the former high picks, this should provide a Darwinian approach to the continuance of the improvement of the line.
No waiting around for improbable improvement from others: We’re not going to totally beat a dead horse here, but the Ogbuehi/Fisher wagon the Bengals hitched their hopes to hasn’t netted results. Ogbuehi has had chances at both tackle spots and has struggled over the past three seasons, while Fisher is attempting to return from an irregular heartbeat and subsequent surgery.
First of all, as a disclaimer, the humanitarian side to us want the best for both of these guys in their respective careers. But, the NFL is a cutthroat business and, in the type of climate free agency has become, teams can’t wait around for guys to develop four years into their career.
For as long as we can remember, the Bengals’ organization has exemplified two traits: loyalty and obstinance. Whether or not real “changes” are forthcoming in Lewis’ unpopular return as the team’s head coach, the team’s move for Glenn notes that they aren’t going to sit on their hands with so many valuable veterans amidst the plateaus of their careers.
Flexibility in the draft: At No. 12 overall, the Bengals were essentially pegged to take one of three positions: offensive line, defensive tackle or linebacker. With the acquisitions of Baker and Glenn, it may take the former two spots off of the table.
Cincinnati has made it known that the NFL Draft is their bread and butter, but they also like to take the best player available throughout the April festivities. With Glenn in the fold, the Bengals are freed up to select other positions of need.
Needed beef in the rugged AFC North: Of course, when talking about championships, quarterback is of paramount importance. Still, as the Bengals, Ravens and Steelers have remained relevant in the recent playoff pictures, winning the AFC North is one of the most viable options when it comes to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Cincinnati has had success against against Baltimore and Cleveland, but they have struggled mightily against the Steelers. Part of the reason, whether it’s with Pittsburgh or otherwise, is the Bengals lacking the “beef” of their roster and/or their inability to defend against those employed in said positions has hindered their ability to move further in the playoffs.
Glenn is athletic and should be a nice bridge from the Willie Anderson/Levi Jones/Whitworth era. None of those players were the problem, in terms of lack of postseason success, and we don’t foresee Glenn being an issue in the same vein.
Health: A good portion of the reason as to why the Bengals traded for Glenn is his health and productivity. After playing 16 straight games for three consecutive seasons from 2013-2015, Glenn was rewarded with a lucrative contract extension from the Bills.
However, part of the reason he was on the trading block was the fact that he played just 17 of 33 games (including playoffs) over the past two years. He is coming off of an ankle procedure and the Bengals have to be wary of these issues.
If there is a risk beyond the financial aspect, it’s in the possibility that Glenn could be unavailable for periods of time. Injuries are something that are hard to predict, so putting Glenn in the injury prone” category might not be fair.
Expense and the rest of Bengals’ free agency: On one hand, this is something that points to major change within the Bengals organization, as they have rarely signed or traded for a player who is both pegged as a starter and has a hefty salary. By most indications, the Bengals are picking up a salary and cap hit of $11.25 million in 2018.
If we can read anything into the Bengals’ value of players, it’s in their ability to be available. It’s why they have been higher on Russell Bodine than most, and why discussions with Tyler Eifert have hit a snag.
So, the question that now needs to be asked is “what else will they do?”. Well, we have have this from the ever-conservative (and, for what it’s worth, a heck of a nice guy) in Bengals.com editor, Geoff Hobson:
Glenn’s monstrous cap hit may eliminate the Bengals from re-upping many of their own free agents. It’s believed they had devoted about $15 million to that task, although center Russell Bodine and tight end Tyler Eifert look to still be on the radar. But can they fit now? Before the Glenn deal they were also going to effort cornerback Adam Jones, long-time punter Kevin Huber, and defensive lineman Chris Smith. But all deals look to be a work in progress as they crunch Glenn’s numbers.
There is the familiar splash of cold water, in case you were waiting for it. Yes, Glenn massively helps the Bengals’ biggest need, but does it handicap a frugal franchise in gaining more producers in free agency.
Now, we’ve seen Hobson play it safe when it comes to predicting financials and what Mike Brown will do in March, but I don’t think anybody truly knows what else lies ahead. If the Glenn trade essentially takes the Bengals out of any other significant acquisitions, it’s a shame as the team needs help at a number of spots.
Possible draft value issues: From what we’ve heard the Bengals have moved from their No. 12 pick down to No. 21, while also swapping fifth and sixth-round picks with Buffalo. For a team who has touted their preference of hoarding draft capital, this might be a be of a hit.
Now, on the surface, it would appear that the team essentially wasted the rookie campaign of their 2017 No. 9 overall pick in John Ross, but they have made it known that they love the compensatory pick formula. That’s why it make sense to move back and lower the franchise’s risk.
However, as many of us have said before here at Cincy Jungle, this is a team who needs immediate impact players through the draft. As they previously sat at No. 12, many available rookies who could be starters would be available. Regardless, with the additions of Baker and Glenn, the Bengals may now be resigned to taking a player who may wither away on the bench for the first couple of their NFL seasons.
An inconsistent Pro Football Focus rating: Glenn has been an up-and-down player by PFF’s metrics. PFF is both a reliable and questionable source for player performance, so folks may take their numbers with a shrug.
Trading for Cordy Glenn upgrades the Bengals offensive line pic.twitter.com/nflFWMVbBW— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 12, 2018
Still, there are times where he has dominated and the question of the overall value of PFF’s metrics come into question. If one takes PFF’s metrics (an overall, semi-above-average player) into consideration, the thought of Glenn manning the left tackle position is tenuous.