Trey Hopkins release makes Bengals OL situation more clear

Trey Hopkins, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Trey Hopkins, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

When the Cincinnati Bengals released Trey Hopkins on Friday, the offensive line situation became a little clearer. Hopkins was the starting center in 2021 and while he wasn’t awful, he wasn’t the same guy that he was in 2020 when he put together his best season.

Throwing in the fact that Cincinnati could save nearly $6 million by releasing Hopkins, it felt pretty certain that he’d be on his way out this season. As soon as Ted Karras agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Bengals, however, Hopkins was on borrowed time.

There were still some fans who felt that Hopkins would stick around and play center since Karras can also play left guard, but it felt like Karras would be the starting center.

Zac Taylor confirmed as such when he met with the media on Friday to discuss the release and the new free-agent signings.

Bengals’ center position is obvious with Trey Hopkins no longer on roster

Cincinnati knew they needed to make the offensive line a top priority and they’ve done just that so far in free agency. Karras was the second signing for the team behind the signing of Alex Cappa, who will play right guard. In the span of a few hours, the Bengals managed to shore up two major positions of need.

Perhaps Hopkins returns to Cincinnati on a cheaper deal but it wouldn’t shock me if he found an opportunity to start elsewhere. As mentioned above, he wasn’t awful in 2021 but this team is in a Super Bowl-contending window and they need to do whatever they can to win a Lombardi Trophy while Joe Burrow is on his rookie contract.

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Karras might not be the best center option that the Bengals could have gotten but he’s a durable player who is an upgrade over what the team had. This was a solid move by the team and while it’s sad to see Hopkins go, the Bengals made the right decision in parting ways with him.