One day after claiming Lamont Gaillard off of waivers, the Cincinnati Bengals have another center to potentially sign ahead of training camp.
According to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero, the Bengals will host free agent Austin Reiter for a visit on Monday.
The #Bengals are bringing in former #Chiefs center Austin Reiter for a visit Monday, per source. Reiter started for KC the past two seasons, including both Super Bowls. Another move coming to fortify Joe Burrow’s offensive line?— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 23, 2021
Reiter is easily one of the best free agent offensive lineman still available as training camps open for all 32 teams in the coming days. He’s been the starting center for the Kansas City Chiefs for the past two seasons after being picked up on waivers from the Cleveland Browns prior to the 2018 season.
The 6-3, 300-pound alumnus of South Florida has appeared in 59 career games (33 starts) since being a seventh-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft via Washington Football Team. He’s also started eight-straight playoff games for the Chiefs at center, including the last two Super Bowls.
Now 29 years old (turns 30 on Nov. 27), Reiter had a very solid 70.9 Pro Football Focus grade last season, an average mark of 63.0 in 2019, and an outstanding grade of 78.6 in 2018. He’d likely be an upgrade over current starting center Trey Hopkins, who’s also recovering from a torn ACL that could keep him sidelined going into the regular season (thank goodness he got his first major payday in 2019).
And even if he recovers, it’s very common to see lineman regress after sustaining a major knee injury, so finding a new starting center could be something the Bengals are essentially forced to do in order to better protect Joe Burrow, who is coming off his own ACL tear due to poor offensive line play.
Frankly, signing Reiter looks like a great move for the Bengals if it happens, though we’ll obviously have to wait and see how the visit goes and how much he’s asking for.
In the meantime, Billy Price will be the Bengals’ starting center.