Bengals: Looking back at the Billy Price era in Cincinnati

Billy Price, Cincinnati Bengals - Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Billy Price, Cincinnati Bengals - Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Bengals recently traded former first-round pick Billy Price to the New York Giants for defensive lineman B.J. Hill and a conditional seventh-round pick. Hill was a former third-round pick and can bring many facets to the table for the defense.

In 2018, the Bengals took a chance in the first round on Ohio State guard/center with the expectation that he would be a centerpiece on the offensive line moving forward. Unfortunately, it did not turn out that way.

Each season saw Price slowly regress as a player and a starter for the Bengals. Of course, injuries have done their fair share due to the minimal success, but Price went from starting 10 games in 2018 to only starting one last season.

Billy Price’s production while with Cincinnati Bengals

According to Pro Football Focus, Billy Price maintained a 46.7 PFF grade last season, ranking 105th among the 106 interior offensive linemen. Additionally, he played 48 total snaps in preseason and had a 38.3 PFF grade, which was 65th among 69 centers who played at least 40 snaps.

With these numbers, it’s hard to make a case for him to make the roster heading into year four and a contract year. However, the Bengals trading him saved them money, frees up a roster spot, and gives Price a fresh new start elsewhere.

This also paves the way for rookie Trey Hill to get a spot on the roster who’s shown glimpses of talent and execution but remains a product in the making.

Before preseason, it was safe to say that Price was expected to make the 53-man roster, most likely as a rotational backup for the guards and center. But with excellent play from rookie D’Ante Smith that took up one of those spots, the positive progression from second-round pick Jackson Carman took up the other one.

And as I said earlier, Trey Hill showed positive signs, making him the backup center entering the season more than likely. There was nowhere for Billy Price to fit in anymore.

When Price was selected a few years back, there was a lot of criticism that he was too raw and that maybe it was a reach for the Bengals to take him where they did, and those claims couldn’t have been more accurate because all of that was on display throughout his tenure with Cincinnati.

There is no doubt Price is talented. At Ohio State, he was the leader of one of the best offensive lines and teams in the entire nation. PFF graded him an 83.2 in 2017 at OSU, which was fifth among centers in the whole nation, but he also was the highest-graded right guard in the country.

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So the talent was there, and the evaluation was always positive it just didn’t translate to the Bengals in the pros. Now the new era continues in Cincinnati without Billy Price.