Collins had long been rumored to join Cincy since he was released by the Dallas Cowboys but was considering a few other destinations (Miami, New England) as well. On Sunday, Ian Rapoport reported that La’el Collins had finalized a deal with the Bengals, the details of which are yet to be released.
Collins joins Alex Cappa and Ted Karras as the Bengals’ biggest free agent signings so far, all three of whom will likely start in their familiar positions in 2022: Collins will play right tackle, Alex Cappa will play right guard, and Ted Karras will play center.
Jonah Williams and some combination of Jackson Carman or a rookie will probably hold down the left side.
Considering that the Bengals have now found three quality upgrades to boost their offensive line, the city of Cincy has to be leaping with joy. So, too, we assume, is Joe Burrow.
Cincinnati Bengals make final O-line improvements, sign right tackle La’el Collins in free agency
So far this offseason, the Bengals have experienced quite the turnaround, and the team seemingly has all the pieces in place for a top-caliber offensive line to protect Burrow this season.
Collins is arguably Cincy’s best O-lineman signing of free agency given his age, value, and production. Needing a change of scenery from Dallas, he joins Cincinnati on the right side of 30 and has played 12 games or more in each of the last four seasons. Collins lost his starting job on the Cowboys due to early career injuries and suspension, but he hit the free agent market as one of the most elite right tackles money can buy.
Many Bengals players tweeted their support after catching wind of the Collins signing as overall team confidence has soared to an all-time high. Though the Bengals likely aren’t done in free agency — they could still spring for an established corner not named Eli Apple — they got the most important task done and still have opportunities to add depth during the draft in April.
In a crowded AFC landscape that recently saw the Bengals’ AFC North rivals, the Cleveland Browns, trade for Deshaun Watson, the Collins signing shines a beacon of hope and sends a resolute message to all Bengals fans.
This is what the message says: We’re coming back, and we’re stronger and better than ever.