3 bargain free agent offensive linemen for Bengals to target in 2022

Cincinnati Bengals center Trey Hopkins - Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals center Trey Hopkins - Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Laken Tomlinson (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

Laken Tomlinson – Guard

Talk about an area of need! The Bengals offensive line, despite getting to the Super Bowl, was brutal at times in 2021, especially at guard.

Quinton Spain, while a nice depth piece is clearly not starting caliber, and let’s be honest, Jackson Carman was underwhelming last year. Hakeem Adeniji may also be a very nice player someday, but Joe Burrow’s bones can’t take the pounding waiting for that day.

Enter the former first-round Duke Blue Devil Tomlinson. A first-round pick of the Lions in 2015, Tomlinson has started 80 games the last five years between the Lions and 49ers. That level of durability would be key in providing stability to the left side of the Bengals line, and keeping Joe Burrow’s jersey free of blood, grass, etc.

While there are other teams vying for Tomlinson’s services, such as Carolina and Miami, how much will the Burrow factor weigh in? My guess is a lot.

Ask yourself this, if you were in this position, who would you rather block for? Whoever Carolina runs out at quarterback? Tuna Tagovailoa? Or a guy, in Joe Burrow that almost willed his team to a Super Bowl in only his second year?

I don’t expect the Bengals to overpay for Tomlinson, as that is not in their DNA, and there are guards, such as Saints free agent Terron Armstead that will garner the biggest bucks, which should leave a player like the 30-year-old Tomlinson directly in Cincinnati’s crosshairs.

The addition of Laken Tomlinson on a team-friendly contract, that will offer the player a legitimate chance at what all of these guys want, a Super Bowl ring, could be the anchor on the left side of the line that keeps Burrow out of the cold tub just a little bit more than in 2021.