Bengals smart to pursue 49ers guard Laken Tomlinson

Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals can’t financially afford every offensive lineman on the market, but it’s worth taking a look at potential starting-caliber options. 49ers’ Laken Tomlinson is the newest name to pop up on the Bengals radar.

Terron Armstead, Bradley Bozeman, Ryan Jensen, Brandon Scherff, and now…Tomlinson.

The San Francisco 49ers’ offensive guard will be a red-hot target this free agency, and the Bengals were reportedly one of many suitors interested in Tomlinson’s services. Any time a talented offensive lineman’s name comes up this offseason, expect Cincinnati to be connected to him somehow.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler recently covered free agency and trade buzz around the league and believe teams could start a bidding war for Tomlinson.

Cincinnati Bengals weighing free agent O-linemen options including Laken Tomlinson

Tomlinson is coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2021 in which he played 17 games, and the seven-year guard has an excellent track record when it comes to staying healthy. He’s been a key member of the trenches for San Francisco for the last few years but could be looking to start anew somewhere else.

Out of all his listed suitors, the Bengals present one of the most enticing options as a serious playoff-contender. Tomlinson came up short in the postseason with the 49ers in 2021, and while the NFC is significantly weaker than the AFC, Cincinnati have one certain Joe Burrow to brag about.

Burrow against Trey Lance? That’s not even a question. Burrow wins hands down.

Tomlinson has played at left guard his entire career but could be swapped in for Jackson Carman or Hakeem Adeniji on the right side. Adding a lineman of Tomlinson’s caliber should automatically boost the Bengals’ O-line and set Burrow up for more success and less pain this upcoming season.

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Tomlinson will have his individual preferences about where he wants to sign for 2022, but the Bengals should clearly make it known that they’re interested.