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Recently-released OG Earl Watford could upgrade Bengals’ offensive line

The Bears just cut Earl Watford. Could the offensive guard give the Bengals a rare chance to improve the roster late in August?

NFL: Chicago Bears-OTA Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals did a pretty significant overhaul on their offensive line this offseason, but did they do enough? Many wondered throughout the offseason if the Bengals would look to upgrade the right guard position. The regular season is almost here, but it may not be too late.

The Bears just released veteran guard Earl Watford, who they had just acquired this offseason.

Watford confirmed the news.

The Bears’ release of Watford came a surprise to many who cover the team. Watford was a fourth round pick for the Cardinals in 2013 and started 22 games in four seasons in Arizona including 11 games in 2016. Watford left for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017, but after being cut by the team in preseason he returned to Arizona starting 10 games last year. He then signed with the Bears this year in free agency, but his stint in Chicago ended over the weekend.

The Bengals have held a competition for the right guard position all offseason with returning faces in Trey Hopkins, Alex Redmond, and Christian Westerman fighting for the right to start. But none of them have wowed and shown they deserve the right to start in Week 1. Hopkins seemed to have been awarded the job before the Bengals’ third game of the preseason, starting in each of the first two games. Then, Redmond started and played with the first-team unit in the third preseason game against the Bills. He was penalized twice on Sunday, which has been a common occurrence for the 2017 undrafted lineman. Westerman has not lined up on the right side in live games and appears to be Clint Boling’s backup at left guard. He also got hurt on Sunday, though the severity of his back injury is unknown.

Watford is a veteran who has started a lot of games in the NFL, but is still under 30-years-old and has a lot of potentially good football in front of him. If the Bengals were to sign him now, he would be at a disadvantage coming into the fold so late, but he could give Hopkins a run for his money once he gets caught up with the offense.

He’s a potentially good fit for the Bengals because he runs zone well and has good footwork. Watford moves well in space and will be able to engage in blocks on linebackers at the second level. He’s strong enough to get movement in the run game and to hold his ground in pass protection. With that said, he’s a little on the thin side at 6’4”, 295 pounds, which contributed to the Jaguars moving on from him as they preferred A.J. Cann who has a bigger build.

Should the Bengals take a chance on Watford in the final days before the team creates its initial 53-man roster?


Should the Bengals sign Earl Watford?

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  • 94%
    (10290 votes)
  • 1%
    (199 votes)
  • 3%
    Only if Westerman’s injury is serious
    (423 votes)
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