The lurking feeling of a Super Bowl loss is a feeling a lot of Bengals’ fans aren’t used to. Today, the feeling really started to fade away as the team went out and proved they are aware of the 2021 team’s biggest downfall – interior offensive line play.
Within minutes of free agency officially opening, the Bengals went out and signed Alex Cappa from Tampa Bay, who presumably steps in as the starting RG filling the biggest hole on the roster. His deal is 4 years worth $35 million, with $11 million guaranteed and a $1 million dollar Pro Bowl bonus each year of the deal.
Duke Tobin wasn’t done there. He then went out and signed C/G Ted Karras to a 3 year, $18 million dollar deal. The Bengals were able to outbid New England for the former Patriot.
When the first bad news of the day struck – Larry Ogunjobi leaving the team for a big deal in Chicago – the team wasted no time in locking up BJ Hill. Hill, who was crucial in the Bengals’ Super Bowl run, got a 3 year deal worth $30 million. He’ll get $15 million in his first year as part of a front loaded deal.
The second wave of bad news just broke as I write this with CJ Uzomah leaving the team. He signed a 3 year, $24 million dollar deal to be a New York Jet. A team leader and locker room presence that will be missed by everyone in the locker room.
Logan: I was really high on Cappa coming out of college, and though he didn’t turn out to be Quenton Nelson, he may be just what the Bengals need. Nasty. Or as fans are calling him, “glass eater.” He’s a mauler and brings a toughness to the offensive line that it lacked. I feel he’s a guy Frank Pollack hand-picked that fits with him well. Once again, the Bengals add a guy coming from a winning culture.
Braeden: Free agency started and less than a minute later they made a signing! Alex Cappa, the 27 year old coming off his rookie contract, brings nastiness and toughness to the offensive line. Cappa played in the final 6 games of his rookie year, and has started at right guard ever since. He has played through a broken arm, and tried to play through a broken leg. He excels in run blocking, and has only given up 5 sacks in the last two years. To give a reference of how significant this upgrade is:
Logan: Karras was always an under-the-radar name to watch for. Again, coming from a winning culture, the Bengals found a guy widely regarded as one with a high football IQ. In 2021, Karras finished with a 72.9 PFF grade which was 15th among all guards. More importantly, he finished 11th of 63 among guards in pass-block win rate. I love the positional versatility Karras provides and he leaves the door open for still upgrading the center position in April’s draft if a top prospect like Tyler Linderbaum falls to 31.
Braeden: The Bengals signed a reliable and versatile offensive linemen in Ted Karras. Karras can slide in at center or either guard position. It seems as if the Bengals signed him to be the teams’ center. Karras, much like Cappa, is a lineman who plays with nastiness. Karras was ranked the 11th best in pass-block win rate. Karras is extremely intelligent, and is a consistent run blocker. The Bengals got the center they needed.