The Cincinnati Bengals were determined to make sure their offensive line would not be a liability after the unit performed poorly in the 2021 season. That's when they went out and signed La'el Collins in the 2022 offseason.
Collins talked a big game when he inked a deal with the Bengals (a three-year deal worth $21 million, per Spotrac), telling the world that he'd be Joe Burrow's bodyguard. While Collins wasn't terrible, he certainly didn't walk the walk after talking the talk.
The former Dallas Cowboy finished the 2022 season with a PFF grade of 57.9, which was a far cry from being the franchise quarterback's bodyguard as he proclaimed he would be. Collins ended up getting injured in the Week 16 win over the New England Patriots and missed the rest of the season and subsequent postseason run.
What should Bengals fans expect from La'el Collins in 2023?
After signing a three-year deal with the team to be their franchise right tackle, Collins might not even start this year. Not only is he still recovering from the injury (though it appears to be going well), the Bengals signed Orlando Brown Jr. to play left tackle. That means that Jonah Williams, the previous starter at left tackle, will move to the right side, which is where Collins played.
As of now, it appears as though Collins will serve as the backup right tackle, which is actually a good scenario for the Bengals. If Williams gets injured, it's not Hakeem Adeniji stepping in to play right tackle but a former starter at the position who has shown potential throughout his career.
The Collins signing didn't go according to plan but maybe this backup role will be good for Collins and he'll become a better player in the long run.