Bengals: An updated look at the Larry Warford situation

Larry Warford(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Larry Warford(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals could use the services of Larry Warford, who still finds himself on the open market after being released.

The Cincinnati Bengals’ coaching staff has made it evident they’re content with their current offensive line configuration. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t continue exploring avenues to upgrade the unit though. One name that has been linked to Jim Turner’s position group is Larry Warford, the former Saints’ guard.

Warford was released by Sean Payton and company after the team drafted Cesar Ruiz in the first round of this year’s draft. The Saints have one of the best offensive lines in the entire league, so Warford becoming available shouldn’t be an indication of his ability.

New Orleans had the luxury of getting younger and cheaper at one spot because they have other guys in place to lean on. Make no mistake about it, Warford would come in and stabilize the offensive trenches in Cincinnati.

It’s odd to see a three-time Pro Bowler on the market for this long. He was released on May 8. Thirteen days later, and a team has yet to scoop him up. Why is that?

Warford’s injury concerns

Warford injured his knee in week 15 last year against the Indianapolis Colts. Since then, there has been little information available surrounding his injury.

Given the current circumstances, both Warford and organizations around the league may be playing a waiting game before he comes to an agreement with a new franchise. The NFL’s virtual offseason is currently set to end at the conclusion of May and some teams, including the Bengals, are beginning to open their facilities to some staff.

Front offices could be holding out hope that their team doctors will be able to take an in-person look at Warford’s knee before investing precious cap space.

Warford, on the other hand, could be waiting to prove that he’s fully healthy in order to get the best deal for himself as possible. He likely remains confident that he can find a job easily in an offensive line starved league.

Are the Bengals even interested?

The Bengals would have to be out of their minds to not consider Warford as a serious possibility, especially considering the performance of the offensive line the past several seasons.

The cap space is tight though. As things stand, the organization has roughly $24 M to work with, but when taking other factors into account, that number quickly shrinks.

For starters, the team has yet to sign any of their draft picks yet. The seven new prospects in stripes will take a significant chunk of the remaining cap space.

Don’t forget, the Bengals like to play things on the safe side and keep some money in the reserves for injury insurance.

Of course, extensions for A.J. Green and Joe Mixon are at the forefront of their minds. Beyond that, players like William Jackson III and Carl Lawson are set to become free-agents soon as well. The frugal front office is assuredly factoring these things into their calculations, rightfully so.

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Still, the temptation of giving Burrow a high-quality guard for additional protection has to be tantalizing. At this point, the addition of Larry Warford seems unlikely but depending on how the market shakes out, the possibility of seeing the mauling guard in the orange and black remains.