As the Cincinnati Bengals enter the 2021 season, there are a lot of unknowns surrounding the offensive line. This is the same unit that allowed quarterback Joe Burrow to get pummeled over and over again during his rookie season, eventually getting injured severely and missing the final six games.
As a result, the Bengals knew they couldn’t sit back and roll with the same starting five in 2021. While they’ve been criticized for not handling it as well as they could have, the Bengals made moves at the position with the biggest being Riley Reiff, formerly of the Lions and Vikings.
Reiff has traditionally played left tackle during his career but he’ll be sliding in at right tackle for the Bengals due to Zac Taylor still believing that Jonah Williams is the answer on the left side.
The Bengals signed Reiff on a one-year deal and this is his chance to try and hit the jackpot this offseason if he plays well on a revamped offensive line. Adam Rank of NFL.com thinks Reiff will do just that in Cincy this year and predicted that he’ll the team’s MVP in 2021. Here was what Rank said:
"Signing Reiff this offseason was a huge move for the Bengals. He’s a big upgrade over his predecessor, Bobby Hart. Some of the Bengals’ moves this offseason were kind of like the equivalent of replacing an older couch with a newer one that is basically the same as the old one. But adding Reiff was like getting a TV for the bathroom. The sort of thing you didn’t know you needed until you actually did it. Readers who are also parents know what I mean."
Okay, that doesn’t necessarily sound like high praise but I get what Rank is trying to say. Reiff isn’t a superstar but he’s an experienced vet and can add a lot to a Bengals unit that struggled immensely a season ago. He also has a major incentive to play well this year, as teams will be eager to sign premier tackles an offseason from now.
The Bengals signed Reiff because of the experience he has and it was surprising to see him available so late into free agency. He’s never made a Pro Bowl but an experienced left tackle is a valuable player in this league and the Bengals will hopefully reap the benefits of what Reiff can provide this year.