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ESPN speculates on Clint Boling being potential cap casualty

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Is Boling on the chopping block this offseason?

Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Clint Boling is the last man standing from the Bengals impressive offensive line that propelled the Bengals to five straight playoff appearances. Now, he is entering the final year of his contract and staring down a brand new coaching staff.

He’s also surrounded by other serviceable veterans and young guards alike, so it isn’t too surprising that ESPN’s Katherine Terrell listed Boling as the veteran player we could see cut as the Bengals trim their roster down to 53:

It’s unclear what’s going on with Boling, who has worked off to the side during OTAs and minicamp, but with Cordy Glenn’s move to left guard, and the signing of John Miller to play right guard, Boling has suddenly become expendable. If first-round pick Jonah Williams is hurt for any length of time and Glenn moves back to tackle, that could keep Boling in the starting lineup, but for now, it wouldn’t be a total surprise if the team decided to eventually part ways with him.

This may anger and confuse plenty of Bengals fans. Boling has been a solid blocker in both phases through the years where it was hard to say that about any member of the Bengals’ offensive line. Why would they kick him to the curb now?

The timing isn’t ridiculous. Boling is in the final year of his contract, and considering the Bengals added plenty of new bodies at both guard spots and plan on moving Cordy Glenn inside, it doesn’t seem like they plan on giving him an extension.

The Bengals would only take a $500,000 dead cap hit for Boling’s release. The team would also save about $5.25 million in cap space, but that really feels like a moot point since the team already has plenty of cap space (just under $20 million). The Bengals are obviously staring down extensions for guys like Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green before the season, and linebacker Nick Vigil is also entering the final season of his contract, but that is less pressing than the team’s starting wide receiver duo.

There are probably a few Bengals fans screaming to give Boling a shot at right tackle, since he briefly had to play left tackle due to mounting injuries in 2017. However, that just isn’t something Boling can be relied on to do over a full season. He just doesn’t have that skill set. There is a reason he was the emergency left tackle and not the backup.

Considering this is the same team that gave a three-year contract to Bobby Hart to start at right tackle without any real competition, any frustration is understandable. The thing that could save Boling’s career with the Bengals is if Jonah Williams is expected to miss serious time do to his mysterious injury. Even then it feels like the team may be confident in their current backups in the interior. It is something we will have to wait and see on.

If Boling ultimately ends up being cut before the season, the Bengals will undoubtedly miss him at some point. He is one of those guys who came here every season and just did his job.