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Bengals News (3/22): Joe Burrow elite in clean pockets

Joe Burrow was one of the best quarterbacks when he rarely had a clean pocket. We should see more of that this season.

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AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Bengals Notebook: Willie Anderson On Next No. 71; Bengals Hit Pause After Checking All Boxes As Draft Opens Up; RIP John Clayton
"I was able to spend some time with him and pick his brain. He's got a lot of knowledge," Collins said after signing his three-year deal. "One of the best to play the game. He knows what it feels like when you're in a position as an offensive lineman you don't need to be in or how to put yourself in a better position. He's super knowledgeable and a great mentor."

Bengals Roster Moves
*Signed WR Trenton Irwin to a one-year contract for the 2022 season. Irwin, a second-year player out of Stanford University, originally was a college free agent signee of the Miami in 2019. He joined Cincinnati mid-way through the 2019 season, and has since played in nine games, with three catches for 39 yards, and three punt returns for 31 yards.

Cincinnati Bengals mock draft after first week of 2022 free agency
In the first week of free agency, the stripes made waves along their o-line. They signed Alex Cappa to play right guard — a position that has been a revolving door for Cincinnati — and then followed that up by inking Ted Karras to a deal, pretty much ensuring that Trey Hopkins won’t be back in 2022 (unless a restructure takes place).

Bengals 7-round mock draft: Finding draft profile fits after free agency reshapes roster needs
Filling all those needs while finding impact players at the top of the draft could open up the possibility to trade down out of the first round. Teams might want to come up into the back of the first to snag a fifth-year option on one of the developmental quarterbacks.

Cincinnati Bengals release cornerback Trae Waynes after two injury-plagued seasons
Waynes suffered a torn pectoral injury during the 2020 training camp that caused him to miss the entire season. In 2021, he battled through a hamstring injury that eventually put him on injured reserve for eight weeks. By the time he returned, the Bengals stuck with Chidobe Awuzie and Eli Apple as their starting outside cornerbacks. Last week, Cincinnati re-signed Apple to a one-year contract.

Cincinnati Bengals Waiving Offensive Tackle Fred Johnson Hours After Officially Signing Him
He was a restricted free agent and would've made over $2 million in 2022. They made the decision to sign him prior to the start of free agency last week. With the addition of La'el Collins, the Bengals have had a change of heart and will part ways with Johnson.

Bengals’ Mike Hilton recruits free agent Stephon Gilmore
And even after the big La’el Collins addition, he’s got his sights on another big name — Stephon Gilmore. We already analyzed why the Bengals should or shouldn’t be in on the veteran cornerback. But Hilton decided to put his Twitter account to use by publicly recruiting Gilmore.

Cincinnati Bengals Film Breakdown: How Hayden Hurst Will Fill C.J. Uzomah's Shoes
Hurst has strong hands and rarely drops passes. He averages one dropped pass per season and does a great job of catching the ball and securing it through contact.

After Falcons stint, Bengals TE Hayden Hurst sees ‘authentic’ coach
The Bengals added former Falcons and Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst after losing C.J. Uzomah to the New York Jets. Hurst spent the first two seasons of his career in Baltimore after they took him with the 25th pick of the 2018 NFL draft. He was traded to Atlanta in 2020 thanks to the emergence of TE Mark Andrews.

NFL Columnist Weighs in Cincinnati Bengals' AFC North Chances Following Cleveland Browns Trade for Deshaun Watson
They've added key pieces to their roster this offseason, including right tackle La'el Collins and right guard Alex Cappa, but the Browns made the biggest move in the division when they traded for Deshaun Watson last week.

Joe Burrow’s elite play in clean pockets will happen even more in 2022
With the Cincinnati Bengals having completely made over their offensive line since the start of free agency, highlighted by the addition of La’el Collins, it’s a good time to remind folks that quarterback Joe Burrow was one of the best quarterbacks in the league in 2021 when working from a clean pocket.

Around the league

NFL Power Rankings: Bills hit No. 1! Buccaneers, Broncos up 14 spots after first wave of free agency
Sometimes it's not that complicated. Entering the offseason, everyone knew the Bengals needed to pour considerable resources into rebuilding an offensive offensive line. And you know what? That's exactly what Duke Tobin did. Cincinnati used its cap flexibility -- remember, Joe Burrow is still on his rookie deal for at least one more season -- to sign three proven veterans. Alex Cappa and Ted Karras provide an instant upgrade on the interior, while former Cowboys right tackle La'el Collins was last seen in the playoffs neutralizing Nick Bosa. Burrow, last seen limping to the locker room after a painful Super Bowl defeat, must be thrilled.

Buccaneers re-signing RB Leonard Fournette to three-year, $21M contract
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Bucs are re-signing running back Leonard Fournette to a three-year, $21 million deal that can be worth up to $24 million with incentives, per sources informed of the situation.

Matt Ryan to Indianapolis: Five biggest takeaways from Colts-Falcons trade
Chris Ballard's quest to replace Andrew Luck continues. The general manager is shooting for the moon with a veteran signal-caller for the third straight offseason. Two years ago, Indy brought in a declining Philip Rivers on a one-year deal. Rivers was good enough to get Indianapolis to the postseason, but at that stage of his career, he was never going to be the long-term solution. Then Ballard swung a big trade for Carson Wentz, believing Frank Reich could get the former No. 2 overall pick back to the form that had him squarely in the MVP discussion when the two were working together in Philly back in 2017. That quickly blew up in Indy's face. Wentz cratered down the stretch, struggling in the offense and proving he's not a difference-maker -- failing to reach 230 yards passing in any of his final five games.

Drew Lock excited for 'fresh start' with Seahawks, ready to compete for starting job
"I was ready for something to happen and then when I found out that this is what happened, I was really, really excited," Lock said, via the Associated Press. "Excited for a fresh start. Excited to come in and compete for a starting job."

2022 NFL free agency: Riskiest contracts given out so far? Jaguars' aggressive moves top the board
Free agency has a long way to go. As of this writing, dozens of my Top 101 Free Agents remain available, including a healthy chunk of my top 20. So while it's too early to say which teams have failed to address needs -- give it time! -- it's not too early to spotlight the best and riskiest contracts signed thus far.