Cincinnati Bengals putting all of their offensive line hopes on Riley Reiff

Riley Reiff (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Riley Reiff (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals decided to not address the offensive line in free agency outside of Riley Reiff, which puts a lot of pressure on the former Lion and Viking to improve this unit. Fair or not, Reiff holds the hopes for the Bengals.

When talking about the upcoming season, most analysis talks about how the offense looks great, except for the offensive line. After Joe Burrow’s injury last season, the focus on his protection was on the mind of fans throughout the whole offseason.

With some chances to improve the line, the Bengals chose different directions, instead bringing in Reiff as the biggest upgrade. Now Reiff will likely be compared to the other options the Bengals had but chose not to pursue.

Reiff will slot in at the right tackle spot with the hopes of keeping Burrow upright. The biggest comparison that Reiff will have to face this year is to incoming rookie Penei Sewell, who the Bengals had a chance to take with the No. 5 overall pick but instead went with Ja’Marr Chase.

With the exciting tandem of Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd, the passing attack for the Bengals is among the top in the league. Add in Joe Mixon and all skill positions are taken care of with above-average players.

The only question mark is the offensive line.

Reiff is an upgrade over Bobby Hart, sure, but the bigger question is how much of an upgrade can he be, and will he be? Reiff will need to be able to hold down the right side and help elevate the rest of the group. Expectations are high this year and the unsung key player is Reiff, who could be the team’s MVP if he has a nice year for his squad.

With a career-low Pro Football Focus score of 69, Reiff will just need to play to the standard he has established his entire career in order to be a massive upgrade. Reiff will end the 2021 season as either the hero or the villain depending on if he is able to help Joe Burrow reach his sky-high ceiling.

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It’s important for Reiff to make a huge impact on this line not only for the Bengals’ sake but for his own. He signed a one-year deal with Cincinnati so a nice performance in 2021 could lead to a big contract over the offseason. We’ve obviously touched on the reasons why it’d be nice for the team if Reiff could have an above-average season.