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Bengals decline fifth-year option on 2015 first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi

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The end of the Cedric Ogbuehi era in Cincinnati is likely coming. But not until after the 2018 season.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

As expected, the Cincinnati Bengals are declining the fifth-year option on offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, according to NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo.

That means Ogbuehi will become a free agent in the 2019 offseason, and once he does, it’s hard to see the Bengals bringing him back.

Included in the CBA’s handling of rookie contracts, which are all four-year deals, is the option for teams to extend a four-year deal into five years for all first-round picks; those players are paid the average of the top 10 paid players at their respective position, which is fully guaranteed when the new league year kicks off in March.

The Bengals have exercised the fifth-year option for all their former first-round picks over the last four years. The team clearly made a mistake using their first-round selection on Ogbuehi in 2015. It was bad enough that Ogbuehi was recovering from a significant ACL injury at the time. Since becoming the team’s starting right tackle in 2016, replacing Andre Smith, Ogbuehi has been routinely graded as one of the worst offensive tackles in the NFL.

According to PFF, Ogbuehi has earned below a 45.0 overall grades in each of the past two seasons, allowing an abysmal 78 total pressures in the process.

Ogbuehi was moved to left tackle late in the 2016 season, but he was just as bad there. He got another chance in 2017 to lock down that role, but he remained one of the worst starting lineman in the NFL.

Head coach Marvin Lewis made it pretty clear this offseason that Ogbuehi has been a disappointment for the Bengals.

“Ced’s had two seasons, basically, and it’s just not been exactly where we need it to be,” Lewis told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “That’s held us back.”

Ogbuehi was not worth paying many millions of dollars to on a fifth year option and the Bengals made the evident right call here declining the fifth year of his deal. The team brought in Cordy Glenn this offseason to fill the left tackle role and Ogbuehi will compete for the right tackle spot with Jake Fisher, Bobby Hart and other linemen on the team.

Ogbuehi remains on the Bengals’ roster for 2018 and is likely to make the 53-man roster in September. Though, it also wouldn’t be terribly surprising if he was cut before the start of the season.