The Cincinnati Bengals have decided to decline offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi’s fifth-year option.
The Cincinnati Bengals have elected to decline offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi’s fifth-year option on Wednesday. The news comes as no surprise as Ogbuehi has struggled in Cincinnati since being drafted at 21 in the 2015 NFL Draft. Ogbuehi was a player the Bengals wanted to develop over the course of a season or two to replace Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler.
Unfortunately, Whitworth and Zeitler left for free agency last offseason, and Cincinnati had no answer for replacement. Ogbuehi and 2015 second-round pick Jake Fisher struggled in 2017. With attempts at trying Ogbuehi on both sides of the line, he has also been benched for poor play on both sides. Cincinnati brought in left tackle Cordy Glenn via trade with the Buffalo Bills this offseason making the battle to start that much harder for Ogbuehi.
The Bengals also brought in former New York Giants right tackle Bobby Hart who will be a high competition player at that side of the line in 2018 for the Bengals. Jake Fisher is more likely to compete for that starting role than Ogbuehi in many eyes. There’s the argument that his toe and shoulder injuries have caused his play to lower, but he has primarily been a rotational piece the last couple years.
Ogbuehi has been called out by coaching staff to the media as the possible reason the entire line had struggled in 2017. Head coach Marvin Lewis included, “Ced’s had two seasons, basically, and it’s just not been exactly where we need it to be. That’s held us back.” While living up to Whitworth and Zeitler is a considerable task for a first-year starter, Ogbuehi has lacked even to be anything but a liability.
Cincinnati has some work still left to do after letting two Pro Bowl offensive linemen walk in free agency. Looking to move on from Ogbuehi following the 2018 season is most likely a step in the right direction but not going to solve all of their problems. New offensive line coach Frank Pollack has a lot to work to do, but the addition of Glenn and first-round pick Billy Price is moving in the right direction.