When NFL free agency begins next week, the Cincinnati Bengals will have plenty of options when it comes to upgrading the guard position.
While New England Patriots Pro Bowler Joe Thuney is on seemingly every Bengals fans’ mind, the best option at guard could be a familiar face.
Zeitler, entering his 10th NFL season in 2021, has missed just one game over his last six seasons while being one of the NFL’s better right guards. However, he is coming off a season in which he had a 65.9 Pro Football Focus grade. The 31-year-old had never finished with a grade lower than 73 prior to that.
Even at his age and decline in play, Zeitler would likely still be a big upgrade at either guard spot for the Bengals. He’d also likely be a cheaper option, whereas a guy like Thuney could cost $10+ million annually.
But that’s not all.
The Minnesota Vikings just released Riley Reiff, who should be one of the better bargain signings at offensive tackle this offseason, and the Bengals sure could use an upgrade at right tackle.
Also entering his 10th season in 2021, Reiff has missed just two games over his last two seasons. He’s mainly played left tackle, though he’s spent time at right tackle on occasion.
This past season, the 32-year-old Reiff recorded a 71.4 PFF grade while playing 15 games at left tackle. Given his age, he too will likely have to sign a cheaper contract with little long-term security.
While the Bengals will hopefully land Penei Sewell in the 2021 NFL Draft, it wouldn’t hurt to have a guy like Reiff man one of the tackle spots next season along with Jonah Williams, allowing Sewell time to sit and develop since he hasn’t played football since 2019 after opting out of the 2020 season.