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Thread: Potential Free Agent Tackles

  1. #1

    Potential Free Agent Tackles

    Today, we are looking at the offensive tackle market. The Bengals obviously need help at the position after the Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher experiments essentially failed this past season. The Bengals could look to use their first-round pick to address the position, but that may not be enough.

    Adding one of these guys will surely help protect Andy Dalton going into next season.

    Nate Solder (Patriots)

    Easily the biggest name of the offensive tackles, Solder would be a huge addition to any team this offseason. The Patriots are known to let players walk if they don’t feel they will sign for what their true value dictates, but it is hard to let a guy like this hit the market.

    At 29, Solder may be signing his last big NFL contract, so he’s looking to cash in. The market may not be kind to an offensive tackle who has been dealing with injuries for the past few seasons. If that’s the case, the Bengals could swoop in by offering a one-year prove it deal.

    Ja’Wuan James (Dolphins)

    James was put on injured reserve with a groin injury in November, but he was the 15th best tackle according to Pro Football Focus. He will only be
    26-years-old next season after the Dolphins picked him in the first round of the 2014 draft. But, there’s now a different coaching staff in Miami that
    could be willing to let him walk away. He was the lone bright spot along the offensive line for the Dolphins in the eight games he played this year.

    Chris Hubbard

    When Marcus Gilbert was injured and suspended for the Steelers this season, it was Hubbard who kept things rolling along the offensive line. He
    didn’t miss a beat despite being thrown into the right tackle position. He started 10 games this season, and while he wasn’t great, he wasn’t bad
    either. He could be a solid addition for cheap, which we all know is music to Mike Brown’s ears.

    Cameron Fleming

    Fleming is 25, and he is coming off a very solid season replacing Marcus Cannon. The Patriots may choose to retain him over Solder, but if they
    don’t, Fleming has plenty of room to develop into a solid starter for the Bengals. He finished the regular season as Pro Football Focus’ 31st ranked
    offensive tackle

  2. #2
    Jim O. spoke with Clint and Clint mentioned he wouldn't mind moving to left tackle. I thought he played well there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    San Antoino, TX
    Quote Originally Posted by whodeyjc View Post
    Jim O. spoke with Clint and Clint mentioned he wouldn't mind moving to left tackle. I thought he played well there.

    I thought he did. For someone that never really played there (especially on the pro level) he played decent. It would give the teams so many options as they go forward this offseason.

  4. #4
    Listening to the latest Bengals beat podcast, it sounds like Ced has an uphill climb to make it at LT - and health concerns aside, it may be that Fisher - with a simpler scheme - could still be salvaged at RT. The implications were that Alexander’s scheme was difficult for him and his playing temperament fits better in more of a Pollack-type scheme.

    And as we’ve seen, Marvin very much wants Jethro back. They cited his durability and experience and at 25, he’s the youngest C entering FA. They also mentioned James Daniels and the fact that Daniel Jeremiah has him as the top-rated Center coming out since Travis Frederick. Who knows.

    I don’t think Boling is your LT except as a backup but it’s good to know that in a pinch, he can play there and not kill you. They also talked about both Westerman and Redmond, and the sense in some circles that one or both should have been playing earlier.

    Again, not a lot of new ground there but hearing the “state of the state” re OL was interesting. Of course, Pollack has some time before FA and the draft to continue to evaluate but it looks like LT definitely is a pick to click and if they re-sign Bodine and let Westerman and Redmond slug it out, next year may be:

    LT - FA or draftee
    LG - Boling
    C - Bodine
    RG - Westerman or Redmond
    RT - Fisher
    Last edited by texbengal; 01-30-2018 at 02:30 PM.

  5. #5
    It doesn’t take long for those new to the organization to understand what those who’ve been around already know about the 2018 offseason. It all starts with fixing the offensive line.

    “We just haven’t gotten to the level we expected,” Marvin Lewis told BX this week. “We have to get better. We have to get better with people. We have to make sure we solidify the thing. There’s no question about it.”

    Looking around the league, it’s easy to see the blueprint for a Bengals return to the postseason and attempt to break the playoff win drought. Look at Minnesota. Look at the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints. Reforming and invigorating underachieving or injured lines spurred runs to division titles, and in the case of Mike Zimmer’s Vikings, one step from the first home Super Bowl in history.

    The process of figuring out that puzzle began in force with the hire of former Cowboys line coach Frank Pollack, who oversaw one of the most dominating rushing attacks in football the last three seasons with Dallas.

    “He’s exciting,” Marvin Lewis said. “He’s aggressive. He’ll fit well with our guys.”

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    New Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack was with the Dallas Cowboys. (Photo: Matthew Emmons, Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

    The switch in style from one which drops back in pass protection and accepts pass rushers, versus one that more brings the action to the defense will serve as the first major skew from the old-school philosophy of now Cowboys offensive line coach Paul Alexander. The scheme is expected to simplify, add aggression and see an overall shift of focus toward the run game.

    “It starts with pass protection,” Bengals owner and president Mike Brown said. “We’ve got to get that up to standard. We have to run the ball more
    effectively than we did over the course of the year. At the end of the year, we were (more effective). So perhaps we’re closer to putting together one
    of those pieces that has to be corrected. The pass protection issue is still out there and we will work to try to make that what it needs to be.”

    But who will be the five players best fit to put Pollack’s ideas into pads? Where will they come from?

    Here’s what we know. Center Russell Bodine is a free agent. He started all 66 possible games since being drafted in the fourth round in 2014. The
    Bengals know his flaws.

    As much of the criticism is deserved, there are teams in this league that look at his durability and entering his prime years as a center who see an
    upgrade. And, more importantly, one they’d be willing to pay for. The Bengals aren’t likely to participate in a bidding war, but there’s interest in
    retaining him. Nobody is writing him out of Cincinnati, certainly not his head coach.

    “We want to do everything in our power to get Russell back,” Lewis said. “Russell’s been, physically, mentally a tough football player for us. He was
    installed there as a rookie and he’s done nothing but continue to grow and get better and frankly grow into a guy you can count on to help lead the
    football team. I feel really good about him. So hopefully we’ll be able to get that done. I’d like to get that done. He’d like to get that done, from what he

    As for if there could be a change at center, the best fit on the market would seem to come from across the division. Baltimore center Ryan Jensen,
    26, emerged in his first full season as a starter and could bring a nastiness the Bengals staff has always sought in their linemen and knowledge of
    handling the rigors of the AFC North.

    Jan 3, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens
    center Ryan Jensen (66) scrums with Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones (24) in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. The bengals won 24-
    16. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Photo: Aaron Doster, Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)

    If they come away from free agency without a starting center and must rely on the draft, James Daniels (Iowa) and Billy Price (Ohio State) would be
    top of the draft prospects. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah called Daniels one of the best center prospects he’s evaluated in five years.

    Remember, Pollack saw his group ascend in Dallas by drafting All-Pro center Travis Frederick in the first round in 2013.

    The spot the Bengals suddenly seem most solid is guard. A swell of organizational momentum came from the play of Alex Redmond and Christian
    Westerman over the last two games and a feeling they discovered the guys who should have been playing all along. The fact that they weren’t
    playing was part of why Pollack is now the offensive line coach.

    Along with Clint Boling, the team could have three solid guards before factoring in last year’s starter at right guard, Trey Hopkins.

    The most important decision to be made over the next six months falls on what to do with left tackle. Cedric Ogbuehi has shown through two years
    he’s – at the least – not the guy they hoped he would be as a first-round pick. At worst, he is a bust they must replace. Expect the team to decline the
    fifth-year option on his rookie contract in the coming months.

    “Ced’s had two seasons, basically, and it’s just not been exactly where we need it to be,” Lewis said. “That’s held us back.”

    Cincinnati Bengals offensive guard Clint Boling (65),
    left, and Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi (70) block in the third quarter during the Week 2 NFL football game between the Houston
    Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. (Photo: Kareem Elgazzar)

    This could be the focus on the No. 12 pick in the draft, though, the team hates feeling pigeonholed into a single position and won’t stray from a best-
    player-available method. That said, if four quarterbacks go in front of them, which is very possible, that leaves them with a rare prospect and good
    chance to grab who they believe to be the best future left tackle.

    Orlando Brown (Oklahoma), Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame), Connor Williams (Texas) and Brian O’Neill (Pittsburgh) are among the leading names
    early to watch in the first round at tackle.

    Last year’s offensive line class represented one of the worst in the last few decades. This year is not that, but it’s not exactly overflowing with left
    tackle talent, either. Last year, New Orleans was happy to find a starter in Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramcyzk with the last pick in the first round. Replicating
    their success would be ideal for the Bengals. Despite criticisms of Lewis’ reluctance to play rookies in their first year, he hasn’t been afraid to plug in a
    first-year starter up front. They did it with Bodine (2014) and guard Kevin Zeitler (’12) this decade.

    If the Bengals wanted to poke into free agency, New England’s Nate Solder will be available and is a top-10 run-blocking tackle in 2017, according to
    Pro Football Focus. He’s also made 95 career starts, owns two Super Bowl rings and is currently chasing a third.

    As for an in-house option, could Boling make a permanent move to tackle as he did over the last two games?

    “I think as the time went along I felt more comfortable out there, just naturally, but it was a solid finish to the year,” Boling told BX. “Obviously there’s a
    lot of different factors that are going to have to go into that, but at the end of the day wherever they feel like I can play (I’ll play). If that were the case,
    having an offseason would be pretty beneficial to prepare for that, but who knows what can happen. They could draft a guy. They could sign
    somebody. There’s no telling what we’re going to be doing right now.”

    Organizational optimism still connects to Jake Fisher at right tackle, despite an up-and-down first year as a starter in 2017. A thought exists his
    attitude and aggression could make a nice match with Pollack, but throw in the uncertainty surrounding the irregular heartbeat issue that ended his 2017 season early and he’s far from a lock to start.

    Fisher rotated with Andre Smith, who played both left and right tackle this past season. Smith is a free agent and would make for a smart utility player to keep on hand in case he is needed to plug and play again.

    All of these pieces run through the hands of director of player personnel Duke Tobin, coordinator Bill Lazor, Lewis and Pollack. How they fit together will be the No. 1 storyline of this offseason for the Bengals.
    The process has just begun.

  6. #6
    If I were to list the 3 things I most wanted to NOT happen this offseason:

    1. Bringing Marvin Lewis back
    2. Bringing back Bodine (unless it was to be a backup and paid as such)
    3. Bringing back Paul Alexander

  7. #7
    The new o-line coach better be a goddamn genius if it plays out like Tex listed:

    LT - FA or draftee
    LG - Boling
    C - Bodine
    RG - Westerman or Redmond
    RT - Fisher

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    The new o-line coach better be a goddamn genius if it plays out like Tex listed:
    I think it would take a witch or warlock or magician

  9. #9
    Don't consider me a Bodine defender, though I can't help but wonder how much of his pass-pro struggles were Alexander related with his absurd "momentum-based" blocking technique. He would get walked back into Andy frequently, leaving no pocket to step up into...but he was one of the strongest OL in the draft. If someone asks him to put the DT on the ground instead of wrestle with him...maybe he can? Also the entire OL struggled with picking up stunts and delayed blitzers. There are 5 sets of eyes there...I don't believe (despite most of those guys coming up the middle) that they were all his problem, but rather the entire approach to the OL. They all couldn't figure out that the DE looped back into the middle, likely because they were asked to look elsewhere and focus on different things.

    All I'm saying is that C is a tough spot and like it or not Richie Braham was a run-of-the-mill guy until suddenly he was elite for about 2-3 seasons prior to his career ending injury. Clearly he is not a Pouncey or a Mack or a Fredrick...but can't you argue that those guys are like Brees or Brady in that only a few teams have 'em and they are hard to find?

    At 25 with 4 years of working with Andy and a new emphasis on attitude and strength vs finesse, we could probably do worse than bringing him back. He clearly wasn't the worst C in the league in 2015 and at the end of the year when (behind the scenes) things started to change and the run game resembled competency, he was good enough to get the job done. I'd much rather focus our draft resources on OTs and defensive playmakers, than needing to find an elite center. Every position can't be elite.

    There has got to be something there for Lewis to speak so glowingly about him...

    ...or ML is so jaded and distorted that he just says whatever he feels like because fvck it!

  10. #10
    Jim O. saying that he wants to be paid like a top 10 center. Looked like he was looking for something in the $6-7M AAV. I'd assume that would likely price us out.


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