The Cincinnati Bengals roster is improved after the first wave of free agency, bolstering the offensive line, which desperately needed to be fine-tuned. The stripes hit the o-line hard in week one and now, the only position along the line that is up in the air is left guard.
Originally, every position on the o-line was up for grabs but after the first week of free agency, all but one question has been answered. Jonah Williams won’t move from his left tackle spot now that La’el Collins is in town to start at right tackle. Ted Karras will replace Trey Hopkins at center after Hopkins was released and Alex Cappa will slot in at right guard, which has been quite the revolving door.
That leaves left guard still left needing to be addressed.
Quinton Spain manned left guard last season but he hasn’t been re-signed yet and there hasn’t been much information on him since free agency began last week.
With left guard being the lone vacant position, if Spain isn’t retained — and even if he is — this is likely where Jackson Carman will fight to start in 2022. He won’t have the position handed to him, of course, as he’ll have to compete with D’Ante Smith and any rookies who are brought in, but it feels like Carman’s job to lose.
Bengals Roster: Left guard only OL position in need of starter for 2022
Carman was drafted in the second round of last year’s draft and after playing left tackle at Clemson, was expected to transition to guard. He didn’t win either of the starting guard positions out of training camp, but ended up at right guard in Week 3.
After Hakeem Adeniji returned from injury, he slotted in at right guard and Carman didn’t get onto the field much afterward. Cincinnati shouldn’t give up on the guy though, as he’s only entering the second year of his pro career, and transitioning from tackle to guard isn’t easy.
If Carman has every opportunity to win the left guard job and still underwhelms, then it’d be okay for the team to move on from him as a potential option, but right now, he deserves another chance.
What do you think will happen with the left guard position in 2022?