This offseason for the Cincinnati Bengals has to focus on one thing and that’s getting the offensive line on track. It’s been about five seasons since Cincinnati had a strong offensive line.
The franchise has always had a top-notch offensive line but it started getting worse under head coach Zac Taylor. Now that Frank Pollack has been named the Bengals new offensive line coach, the Cincinnati offensive line needs the right personnel which he can be acquired this offseason.
The offensive line starts with grabbing an experienced leader this offseason
During the 2020 offseason, the Bengals surprised everyone by buying into free agency on defense. In the 2021 offseason, the offense should have a strong presence in free agency, especially with the Bengals offensive line. One player that has been on most experts’ minds is New England Patriots guard Joe Thuney.
Thuney was the Patriots’ third-round draft pick in 2016 from North Carolina State. He was on the all-rookie team in 2016 and was a second-team all-pro in 2019. Thuney has two Super Bowl rings so the leadership is there to help the Bengals offensive line. Thuney is also the only player ever to start a Super Bowl in his first three seasons.
Last season the Patriots franchise-tagged Thuney. This was due to needing a young leader on the offensive line they can trust. There aren’t that many offensive linemen that can be trusted on their rookie contract but Thuney is an exception. Pro Football Focus is predicting that Thuney’s next contract will be a very lucrative deal.
The market value for Thuney is set at 13.9 million a season and he wants a four-year deal. PFF predicts that the Arizona Cardinals can get him at four years and $57 dollars. The Bengals have the cap space to go over that.
Bengals should select Penei Sewell in the 2021 NFL draft
Penei Sewell is one of the best generational tackles in the last two decades. There is a deep offensive line class but the next lineman is nowhere near the planet Sewell is on. Sewell has not played since his sophomore year in 2019. Sewell won the Outland Trophy and the Morris Trophy in 2019.
Sewell was also named first-team All-Pac-12 and unanimous All-American in the same year. Sewell opted out of his junior season due to covid and still is the best offensive lineman scouts have seen for decades.
The way the offensive line could look like after the offseason
With the fifth selection, Sewell would move to left tackle. Jonah Williams, the Bengals first-round draft pick in 2019, would move to right tackle position. This would leave Bobby Hart on the bench or could be cut for $5.9 million of savings.
Thuney would take over at left guard position while Quinton Spain will stay on with the Bengals at right guard. Trey Hopkins was the only constant the past two seasons as the Bengals center and Billy Price would back him up.
The above-proposed changes on the offensive line would help the Bengals protect quarterback Joe Burrow. This offseason priorities for the Bengals should be drafting Sewell and trying to sign Thuney.