Bengals: Extension for Quinton Spain should be on the horizon
By Riley Thomas
The Cincinnati Bengals‘ offensive line has been a major improvement in the stripes’ 5-3 start to the season. The o-line has made strides in both run-blocking and pass-blocking but has been streaky at times, as seen in their games against the Bears and Jets.
Regardless, the offensive line is still improved and the starting left guard Quinton Spain is a huge reason for that. Spain has been a stabilizing force in the Bengals’ interior offensive line even when both Trey Hopkins and Jackson Carman have struggled here and there.
Spain is in the midst of a breakout season, taking his 2020 PFF grade of 56.7 to a grade of 76.4 this season. He has been extremely consistent through the year, with his only memorable poor performance coming in Chicago. His presence at left guard has been huge with uncertainties at both center and right guard at times.
Spain’s improvement from last season has been remarkable. Many wanted to see Spain walk during free agency due to his poor play, but Cincinnati brought him back on a one-year prove-it deal worth barely over $1 million. That decision was one of several major wins for the stripes during the offseason.
Cincy has found a diamond in the rough in Spain who is arguably a top 10-15 guard in football right now. Even though the Bengal’s line has not been very good in run-blocking, Spain has been a good run blocker himself.
Spain has also had some enormous performances, with his best probably coming in Detriot against the Lions. His massive game against the Lions put him on PFF’s Week 6 Team of the Week.
No one saw this kind of year coming for Spain and this has been one of the best surprises this season for the Bengals. With that said, it may be time to consider Spain for an extension.
Bengals need to get Quinton Spain extended
Look, the problems at the center and right guard positions are undoubtedly present right now. Cincinnati has gotten good to solid play most of the season from Spain, Jonah Williams, and Riley Reiff. It’s been both center and right guard that have held the o-line back.
Hopkins’ stay in Cincinnati could be coming to an end as he has been the biggest liability. Carman’s future at right guard will likely remain since he has progressed well this year and is only a rookie. Still, Carman has gone through some inconsistencies (as most rookies do), and if he does not piece it together next season, his future as a starting right guard will come into question.
At this point, it is obvious the Bengals need to lock up Spain — their one stabilizing force in the interior — while they can. Giving Spain a mid-season extension should be considered, although that probably won’t happen since it could be seen as a distraction.
The problem is if Spain continues at this level of play, the price is only going to go up. Furthermore, Cincy needs Spain back for next season without a doubt. There are other issues on the team outside of just the offensive line: edge-rusher help and a second cornerback.
The Bengals probably cannot afford to spend the highest draft picks in the 2022 NFL Draft all on the offensive line, assuming they look to add a center and another tackle. This reason alone supports bringing Spain back is a must, especially when they know Spain has proven it at this point.
Once again, a mid-season extension is unlikely, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea at the right price. Even if that does not happen, the Bengals certainly must extend Spain in the offseason. Something that will be interesting is what kind of money will Spain be worth being 30-years-old?
Spain’s terrific play at left guard for Cincy this season has been a very pleasant surprise and the former West Virginia product has become someone that must be brought back. Spain will look to continue his exceptional campaign this Sunday against the rival Cleveland Browns at 1 PM EST.