Free agency is well underway this offseason and the Cincinnati Bengals have been a team that many media members across the league have had their eye on, especially when it comes to building around Joe Burrow.
A major focus of this front office has been to fix the defensive side of the ball as they have signed players such as Mike Hilton, Trey Hendrickson, and Larry Ogunjobi. But what about the glaring hole on the other side of the ball, the offensive line? That hasn’t been as big a focus as some would have liked, including Peter King of NBC Sports.
Here are some comments he wrote in regards to the Bengals offseason.
“It was worrisome to me that a former Bengal guard still playing very well, Kevin Zeitler, escaped to division rival Baltimore (for the comparative bargain of $7.5 million a year) early in the week, eschewing the Bengals.”
Now after losing Zeitler, everyone already knows the team went out and got offensive tackle Riley Reiff from the Vikings. This sets up a pairing at the tackle spots of Reiff and Jonah Williams. Here is the big concern King points out though;
“Reiff and Jonah Williams likely will man the tackle slots, but the interior line is exceedingly weak; Cincinnati’s line ranked 30th in composite offensive-line grades in 2020. The need is still acute if Burrow is going to have a cleaner pocket than the one that got him injured last season.”
This comes as no secret to Bengals fans or anyone who watched them play last season that the future of the franchise is #9, and this front office needs to do everything they can to protect him from the possibility of getting another injury like this in his career.
But where do they turn from here? There are a couple of right guards still on the market that would fit the bill in Trai Turner and Larry Warford, both of which should come on fairly decent contracts.
Although, it doesn’t appear there has been much, if any contact with either of them just yet. You should also have enough cap room to potentially go out and find another solid piece to add to the interior line depth in the form of another guard or center.
With right around $23 million in cap space remaining, you can go find one or two pieces and then also still have room to pay the rookie class, and be able to fill out the rest of the roster and practice squad.
It’s all but a waiting game at this point now, as most of the big name free agents are already off the market. Now it’s time to get creative, spend a little more money, and find another few key pieces to build out this offensive line.