What do analysts think of the Bengals’ free agency so far?
The Cincinnati Bengals dove headfirst into free agency. They did so with the announcement, one minute into the legal tampering period, that free-agent guard, Alex Cappa, was signing with the team.
The Bengals followed that up by announcing they were signing free-agent center Ted Karras away from the Patriots.
All was good in Bengals land. The team immediately addressed their biggest weakness at the onset of free agency. Of course, this is precisely what everyone wanted to see.
Well, it is not good enough for some writers. Cody Benjamin, NFL staff writer a CBS, gives the Bengals a B-. His analysis is more unfavorable than his grade.
Of the Bengals, Benjamin writes:
"Cincinnati Bengals: B-• Buccaneers OG Alex Cappa (4 years, $40 million)• Patriots C Ted Karras (3 years, $18 million)• DT B.J. Hill (3 years, $30 million)• S Jessie Bates III (franchise tag)Good for them, finally getting Joe Burrow some more help up front. Cappa and Karras weren’t necessarily the best options out there, but they’ll do. Also, was B.J. Hill worth locking up over Larry Ogunjobi? Maybe. Maybe not."
We will miss Ogunjobi but some believe that Chicago overpaid for his services.
Pro Football Focus graded the Ogunjobi signing as “poor” for the Bears.
Hopefully, for Ogunjobi, it will not be a poor fit.
Benjamin does not say who the Bengals’ best options were as far as the offensive line is concerned. We can only assume that he thinks Brandon Scherff or Laken Tomlinson would have been better suited for Cincinnati.
It was always unrealistic that the Bengals would go after Scherff. There was no way that the team would give him an annual salary of $16.5M, which is what he received from the Jaguars.
Tomlinson received a contract with an annual average of $13.3M from the Jets. However, even that is too much to expect for the team to splurge on a free agent guard.
As for Pro Football Focus, they grade the Bengals’ moves as “average.”
For Cappa, the site writes:
"G Alex Cappa: Four years, $40 millionThe Buccaneers will now be working to replace both starting guards from the 2021 season, with Cappa headed to the Bengals to help quarterback Joe Burrow stay upright. Cincinnati had a revolving door at the right guard position in 2021, with playoff starter Hakeem Adeniji earning three straight grades below 35.0 to finish out the season after allowing eight pressures and six sacks.Cappa represents a huge upgrade at the position, coming off a career-best 74.2 grade with 70.0-plus marks as a run blocker and pass protector.Grade: Average"
As for Karras, PFF states:
"G Ted Karras: Three years, $18 millionKarras is a valuable addition for a Bengals interior offensive line that was a revolving door in 2021, with the ability to play both center and guard. He played the majority of the 2021 season at left guard for the Patriots but also made two starts at right guard. His 72.8 grade this past year was his best since 2018, and he allowed just 11 quarterback pressures on 425 pass-block reps.Grade: Average"
The Bengals, however, improved their offensive line at two of the five positions. They did so by spending $14.75M in annual salary for two players.
That is pretty darn good for a team with a bad offensive line that just made it to the Super Bowl. These moves should be considered above average.
Furthermore, Scherff and Tomlinson are the only available free agent offensive linemen to receive more money per year than Cappa.
Sure, James Daniels received an $8.8M annual average from the Steelers. However, that is essentially a push.
There is a life lesson in this. As the French would say, “you are never going to be able to please everyone, so do the best you can and don’t worry about what the rest of the world is thinking.” Or something like that.
Do you think the Bengals should have pursued Scherff or Tomlinson? What grade would you give the team’s offseason so far?
"Grading the Cincinnati Bengals free agent signings from Day 1"