Bengals News

Should the Bengals Sign a Free Agent at Right Tackle?

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 06: Bobby Hart #68 of the New York Giants in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 6, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 06: Bobby Hart #68 of the New York Giants in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 6, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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The Bengals may need to make a change at right tackle soon, and backup Jake Fisher might not be the answer. Is there a free agent who could step up?

The Bengals have been nearly nuclear on offense so far, and they can thank the offensive line for being improved. While there’s no dispute that this unit has improved, they have the potential to get even better. That starts primarily at the right tackle, where Bobby Hart has been disastrous. Hart has been sieve-like in pass blocking, so almost any other option will work better than him.

I expect the Bengals to look internally for a solution first, but they have to consider other options with how bad Hart has been. Jake Fisher will get his chance to start at right tackle at some point, I presume, but I’m not sure he’ll be any better. There’s a reason the team went with Hart over Fisher, in spite of how bad Hart has been playing. If Fisher gets playing time, I don’t see him being much better than Hart.

The question then becomes whether the Bengals will sign a free agent to come in off the street and try to start at right tackle. Of the free agents left at the position, there aren’t a ton of great options. However, there are some players who should be better than Bobby Hart. The best available tackle seems to be Cornelius Lucas, who played most recently for the Rams.

Lucas has been a surprisingly consistent player across his four NFL seasons, recording PFF grades between 55 and 65 each year. That ranks about average at the position. Notably, Lucas is considerably better at pass protection than run blocking, which may be what the Bengals need. Lucas has been above average in pass protection, compared to Bobby Hart’s poor performance against pass rush. At 6’9”, 325 pounds, Lucas is also a perfect size for the right tackle spot.

I don’t expect the Bengals to make a move like this immediately, and it may not even be Lucas who they sign. However, I think this team would be better right now if Lucas, or another comparable free agent, was starting at right tackle over Hart.

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