In the NFL, the offensive line is everything. Who could the Bengals bring in to fix their poor unit before the 2022 season begins?
Remember when the Kansas City Chiefs got blown out in Super Bowl 55? Why did that happen? It was mostly due to the Chiefs offensive line not being good enough to handle NFL pressure.
To be fair, they were missing both of their tackles at the time, but neither Eric Fisher nor Mitchell Schwartz are young, so Kansas City decided to overhaul their unit, and they ended up succeeding in doing such for 2021.
While they couldn’t get past the Bengals, them overhauling their offensive line is proving to be a smart decision, as they drafted well and brought some much-needed youth to it.
I’m going to try and fix the Cincinnati Bengals‘ offensive line with free agency/trade projections.
I’m going to stay away from the draft because I have not studied the player enough and do not think it is super likely that a rookie draft pick would start week 1.
The Bengals do have a ton of money to spend, so if they really wanted to, they could fix their line before the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft.
So, let’s go from left to right!
Cincinnati Bengals possible offensive line overhaul in free agency
Left Tackle – Sign Terrod Armstead
This one was easy for me. Terron Armstead is about to be a free agent, and the New Orleans Saints are over the cap once again, so there’s little reason to believe they can afford to bring him back.
Why wouldn’t Armstead want to go play for Joe Burrow in the AFC? Cincy has now become an attractive free agent destination, and the Bengals should be prepared to open their checkbooks.
Armstead has a market value of nearly $24 million per year, and the Bengals will need to pay him as such.
The three-time Pro Bowler has never played a full season, which is concerning, but he’s been one of the very best at the position.
His PFF grades since his rookie season are insane, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be able to perform just as well in a new uniform.
Left Guard – Re-sign Quinton Spain
I like Quinton Spain. He’s an average guard and played rather well for the Bengals this season. He had a solid year by PFF’s metrics and is familiar with the Bengals’ offensive system.
Spain played in 16 games this season and has a track record of being rather healthy. He’s set to enter his age-31 season and could probably hold the left guard position down for a few more years while the Bengals attempt to bring more youth to their offensive line.
Teams run the risk of not being able to adequately develop chemistry within a position unit if there are too many new players in it.
While it’s good to infuse the team with more talent, the risk of a lack of chemistry at first is ver real.
I think retaining Spain on a team-friendly deal allows Cincy to explore other positions in free agency and doesn’t limit their ability to improve their team in other ways.
Center – Sign Bradley Bozeman
Why not bring an insanely tough and strong center into the building? The former Alabama Crimson Tide and current Raven began his career at guard but moved to center before the 2021 season.
Bozeman has played in 48/49 games the past three seasons, starting all 48. He also was not called for a penalty this season, which is mighty impressive.
Bozeman is 6’5″, 325 pounds, so he has the side of a tackle but will be able to feast on the interior.
Bozeman is by no means an elite center, but he’s very good and will be able to cash in this offseason.
Right Guard – Sign Austin Corbett
I am no expert on offensive schemes, but I would venture to guess that both Zac Taylor and Sean McVay run a similar offense.
For that reason, the Bengals signing a current Los Angeles Ram makes a lot of sense.
Austin Corbett was a part of an offensive line that was among the best pass-blocking units in LA.
Corbett is projected to sign a contract that would pay him nearly $9 million per year, and there is no reason why the Bengals can’t afford that.
In nearly 1,000 snaps, Corbett committed just 2 penalties, so he’s a disciplined player who began his career in Cleveland, so there’s an AFC North connection there as well.
Corbett just turned 26 and was drafted in 2018, so he has a long career ahead of him.
Zac Taylor would probably want to try and poach some free agent Rams anyway, so why not target a huge need?
Right Tackle – Jonah Williams
Jonah Williams has right tackle experience from playing at Alabama, so this isn’t just a random switch.
He started 15 games at right tackle during his Alabama career and was going against top-notch SEC competition. Furthermore, he was the 11th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Williams has a ton of talent and would be able to return to a spot he once saw success in.
Plus, I would assume he’d have some sort of relief knowing he isn’t having to block for Joe Burrow’s blindside anymore.
Jonah Williams is set to enter his 4th season in the NFL and could be in line for a contract extension. The Bengals would be wise to see how he would play on the right side before opening their checkbooks for him, but I do think he is still firmly in their long-term plans.
Williams isn’t yet an elite tackle, but he has the skill and pedigree to become just that in 2022 and beyond.
So, would an offensive line of Terron Armstead, Quinton Spain, Bradley Bozeman, Austin Corbett, and Jonah Williams give Joe Burrow a better chance to stay on his feet? I think this unit would be among the better ones in the NFL.