The Cincinnati Bengals need to overhaul their entire offensive line. We’ve already discussed who could be the starting left tackle and the starting left guard in 2022, so now let’s move to the center position.
Trey Hopkins has been the starting center for the stripes over the past few seasons and took over full-time once Billy Price was clearly not the answer. Hopkins didn’t play well in 2021, however, and the Bengals can save roughly $6 million if they cut him this offseason.
While there’s no guarantee that Hopkins is cut, the Bengals have to try to make their offensive line as solid as possible and he proved he wasn’t the long-term answer there anymore.
Let’s take a look at five possible starting center options for Cincinnati in the 2022 season.
5. Ben Jones
The reason I have Ben Jones as the fifth option here is that he’s on the older side and that could scare the Bengals and other teams away. Even with Jones entering his age 33 season, you’d never know the guy is nearing his mid-30s with how well he plays.
Pro Football Focus had Jones as their No. 46 best free agent this offseason and noted that his past three seasons have been the best of his career. They project the Titans center to earn a three-year deal worth $20 million with an annual salary of $6.67 million and $12 million in guaranteed money.
That’s a great deal for a starting center who is still playing at a high level and while this deal would take Jones through his age 35 season, if he’s productive, who cares?
Jones hasn’t been linked to Cincinnati in the early stages of the offseason but he should be on their radar. He’d be an excellent addition to this offensive line.