The Cincinnati Bengals have done a pretty solid job so far in free agency addressing their needs along the offensive line. It is weird to think that this team’s biggest need isn’t the offensive line after it being at the top of the list for years now. One of the Bengals’ biggest needs is currently at interior pass rusher.
There seemed to be a possibility that Larry Ogunjobi could fill that need after his deal with the Chicago Bears fell through. However, head coach Zac Taylor didn’t leave the door cracked very far on that front when asked by The Athletics' Jay Morrison:
Here's Zac's full answer to the question about whether they are leaving the light on for a possible Ogunjobi return: pic.twitter.com/oJis9y4dY0— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) March 28, 2022
After the Bengals re-signed defensive tackle B.J. Hill to a three-year contract worth roughly $30 million, it didn’t leave much in the way of adding another defensive tackle at the same pay rate.
John Sheeran pointed out that a deal likely isn’t imminent for Ogunjobi, and how he could still end up with a respectable payday down the road:
Don’t expect a decision from Ogunjobi to be made soon. It’s in his best interest to see what teams will still need defensive tackles after April’s draft, and that could raise his asking price as well. He’s also still recovering from the foot injury he suffered in the Wild Card round, so the more time he heals, the more likely teams will be interested in him.
As long as Ogunjobi can demand and receive starter money, he will be out of Cincinnati’s range of possibilities. We are much more likely to see the Bengals address the need via the NFL Draft or sign a cheaper veteran after the draft to try and fill the void behind Hill. Also just as likely is defensive lineman Sam Hubbard kicking inside more often on pass-rushing downs if Joseph Ossai stays healthy in his second season.
If this offseason has taught us anything, it is that you can never say never. Even the Bears going back on their three-year deal worth $45 million with Ogunjobi following a failed physical was already a huge surprise. It would be ideal to be able to get him back, but the NFL is a business, and players in Ogunjobi’s situation need to cash in while they can. Unfortunately, it looks like it won’t be with the Bengals.