Alex Cappa had options to leave central Florida this past offseason, and the choice to stay put was pretty appealing as well.
For the second year in a row, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were trying to run it back with the core of their team. Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette, Giovani Bernard, Carlton Davis, and Ryan Jensen were all retained after Tom Brady dropped a bombshell that he would not retire and play a 23rd season in the NFL.
Brady managed to convince Jensen to stick around as his center. He already lost left guard Ali Marpet to a sudden retirement out of the blue, so losing his right guard in Cappa would hurt even more. He reportedly called Cappa after securing Jensen to make his pitch.
Cappa chose the Cincinnati Bengals instead.
Seconds after the legal tampering period began, Cappa agreed to the largest unrestricted free agent contract the Bengals have ever offered an offensive lineman. The symbolism behind inking a right guard to a major deal five years after letting Kevin Zeitler chase a bag was enough on its own. Watching Joe Burrow succumb to defenders running free in the Super Bowl was more than enough to get the Bengals to open the check book for real.
While the financials were enlarged to reel in Cappa, the philosophy remained the same. Cincinnati doesn’t truly drop the bag for anyone they don’t believe is still ascending. This has applied since their great free agency awakening in 2020, and the only real miss has been Trae Waynes due to injury. The shared vision between head coach Zac Taylor and director of player personnel Duke Tobin has led to a locker room full of players who love ball in the midst of their primes.
Cappa has truly been the best version of himself since joining the Bengals. Per Pro Football Focus, he’s posted career-highs in both pass blocking grade (71.5) and pass blocking efficiency (98.3) this season, and has been a top-20 run blocking guard since Week 5, the inflection point when the Bengals made alterations to better their scheme.
Perhaps it’s taken this long for us to profile Cappa because he’s been right at where expectations placed him. If he was falling below consistently, he would be a more pressing topic, and the same would apply if he was racking up Pro Bowl votes.
Thus is the life of an o-lineman; you never get attention for doing your job.
The development Cappa underwent blocking for Brady has molded him into arguably the best interior lineman the Bengals have added since Zeitler’s departure, and he showed why in his return to Tampa on Sunday. Check out some of Cappa’s most notable reps in the video below.