The Cincinnati Bengals finally added an offensive lineman to help protect Joe Burrow.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Bengals are signing offensive tackle Riley Reiff, per sources informed of the situation. Rapoport added the Bengals released quarterback Ryan Finley, who started one game last year, and offensive tackle Bobby Hart in an effort to create salary-cap space for their offseason additions.
It was a vital signing for the Bengals, who desperately needed to upgrade their offensive line this offseason in an effort to protect Burrow. The drop-off from Reiff to the next-best healthy tackle at this point was steep.
Reiff has been a solid, if unspectacular, blocker since being drafted in the first round by Detroit in 2012. He’s started 127 of 135 games in his career, mostly at left tackle. Reiff has spent the past four years in Minnesota. In 2020, he allowed one sack and 21 total pressures with the Vikings, 18th fewest among 59 qualifying tackles.
The Bengals had one of the worst offensive lines in football last season, allowing 35 sacks and 215 QB pressures, per Pro Football Focus. Adding reinforcements to that group was a necessity this season. It’s not as if the Bengals haven’t tossed assets at the problem in the past, using first-round picks in both 2019 and 2018 on the O-line, including 2019 pick Jonah Williams, who played left tackle last year.
The 32-year-old Reiff told reporters Friday that he would play right tackle in Cincinnati, a side he started 14 games in Detroit in 2016. Starting Reiff on the right side enables to Bengals to keep Williams on at left tackle or draft a replacement.
Signing Reiff adds further intrigue to the Bengals’ draft choice at No. 5. They could still look to upgrade the line, possibly snagging another tackle and shuffling Williams inside. Or they could target a wide receiver, like reuniting Ja’Marr Chase with Burrow.
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