Aug 28, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals guard Clint Boling (65) against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The first day of free agency has been chaotic to say the least. In typical fashion though, the frenzy did not include any significant news regarding the Bengals. Yet, this doesn’t mean the market hasn’t changed, which inevitably affects the Bengals whether they participate in the chaos or not.
Reports have now circulated for some time detailing the mutual interest between the Vikings and Clint Boling. Some of this likely has to do with head coach Mike Zimmer and his previous connection to Boling in Cincinnati. This connection should be giving the Bengals fits and hopefully is causing them to step up their effort towards retaining Boling; I’m sure it is.
That said, the first domino in the free agent guard pool feel today when Mike Iupati signed a deal with the Arizona Cardinals. The deal is reportedly five years for $40 million with another $1 in incentives. This deal is bad news for the Bengals in two ways.
First, Iupati landing with the Cardinals isn’t helpful as they weren’t one of the teams reportedly interested in Clint Boling. It would’ve been nice to see Iupati land with the Vikings, Jets, or one of the teams linked to Boling.
More importantly, Iupati’s deal only serves to help Clint Boling’s market price. At $8 million per year, it looks like Boling will be getting a heck of a raise in the coming days. As pointed out by Tyler Mercurio in a recent piece, the Bengals aren’t flush with as much cash as one would initially think. With that in mind, the positive is the Bengals do have the money to pay Boling. The downside is, they may not have much more after this potential deal.
In an off-season where the team is likely looking to roll over some cap space into 2016 when the Bengals will have a lengthy list of significant players to re-sign, and potentially re-sign some of these eligible players this year, will they have enough cap space to retain Clint Boling? Or is the team looking at the possibility of heading into the draft prioritizing a replacement guard? Thankfully, the draft is flush with solid offensive line prospects during the first few rounds, and the Bengals have some extra picks. But with many fans hoping the team would make improvements heading into the new season, they may be left feeling a little unfulfilled.
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