Signing Larry Warford would complete the Bengals’ offseason
After several tremendous moves, signing veteran guard Larry Warford would complete the Cincinnati Bengals’ offseason.
Things just keep falling the Cincinnati Bengals’ way this offseason. The team was able to secure several big free-agent targets and the draft played out in a way that allowed them to completely overhaul their once-floundering linebacker unit.
Unfortunately, the front office wasn’t able to attack the offensive line in the way many had hoped. Conveniently enough, the Saints just released a three-time Pro Bowler at guard, Larry Warford.
The Bengals should be jumping all over the 6’3, 317-pound mauler from Kentucky. In a league starved for quality offensive line play, it’s rare that a player of Warford’s quality hits the open market, especially this late in the offseason.
The Bengals have intriguing options at guard, namely Michael Jordan and Xavier Su’a Filo. Both could thrive in Jim Turner’s scheme but neither is the sure-thing that Warford is. Giving Joe Burrow the most protection they can has to be priority number one for Cincinnati and Warford clearly upgrades their ability to do that.
Beyond the movement he would create in the run game for Joe Mixon and the stability he’d provide for Burrow, he would serve as a tremendous veteran leader. He has over 100 games of experience under his belt, something that the Bengals are currently lacking along the offensive trenches.
Jonah Williams hasn’t played a single snap, Fred Johnson is only in his second year, and that’s just the beginning. Adding the nearly 29-year-old Warford would give the Bengals a calming presence along the offensive front.
One quick glance at the video above via @BrandonThornNFL and it’s clear that the Bengals need the services of Warford. An interior combo of Trey Hopkins and the former Saint could create big holes for Mixon, who will make opposing defenses pay if he sees an opening like the one shown.
According to Over The Cap, the Bengals currently wield around $24M in cap space. That’s prior to signing their draft class and accounting for injury insurance money. Part of that will also have to be allocated to extending A.J. Green and Mixon, making things tight for the front office to acquire Warford.
Still, the Saints are paying their former standout guard some money, so he may be willing to take a little less than many believe he is worth. Worst case scenario, they could attempt to backload Warford’s contract, saving them money now but costing a larger percentage of their cap space down the road. The front office almost never operates this way and it’s a risky move, but giving Burrow such a high-quality guard is worth it.
The Bengals have been aggressive all year, putting themselves in a position to compete in 2020 and beyond. They should make one more big move to bolster their weakest unit. In doing so, it’d cap off a tremendous offseason and give the team a strong roster to begin their new era.