As the Cincinnati Bengals get to work on executing their off-season plan, all eyes will be on the improvements they make along the offensive line.
After watching franchise quarterback Joe Burrow get sacked a league-leading 51 times in the regular season, it has been clear that changes needed to be made.
Add on an additional 19 sacks in four postseason games, including 6.5 in the Super Bowl and the infamous pressure leading to an incompletion on the final offensive play of the game, virtually anyone you speak to about the team knows the team needs to be active in the off-season to sure that unit up.
A quick internet search will lead you to mock drafts, trade scenarios, free agency signings and essentially any other path to improve the line that you can think of.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com recently released his team fits for 10 notable free agents and has a championship level guard primed to call The Queen City home. Brandt has Cincinnati as the best fit for offensive guard Alex Cappa.
As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face an off-season transitioning away from the newly retired Tom Brady, some expect them to let internal free agents test the market and potentially leaving.
Cappa doesn’t seem to be garnering as much attention as Washington Commanders free agent guard Brandon Scherff, but Brandt makes some solid points when comparing the two.
“Cappa’s offensive grade from Pro Football Focus last season (18th among guards) puts him in the same neighborhood as buzzed-about free agent Brandon Scherff (13th), who is three years older and has not played a full season’s worth of games since 2016,” Brandt says.
For reference, the other three guards to play significant snaps for Cincinnati this year graded out lower than Cappa. Jackson Carman (67th), Quinton Spain (43rd) and Hakeem Adeniji (81st) all came in with significantly lower grades than the 27 year old. It is worth noting that Spain is also primed to be a free agent and the potential arrival of Cappa could spell the end for him.
Look for the Bengals to take a look at essentially any free agent lineman who hit the market this March. To be honest, it is hard to imagine any of them causing the offensive line to take a step back in 2022.
The last two free agency periods saw the Bengals invest heavily in the defense. Will this spring be the year they continue the spending spree, using the money to address the biggest thing holding the team back?