Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals came up short of the franchise’s first Super Bowl. During the offseason, they looked to fill needs for another playoff run in the 2022-23 season.
Improvements: Offensive Line
After allowing 19 sacks in the playoffs, the Bengals desperately needed to address the offensive line. Cincinnati finally made those moves.
Adding the guard Alex Cappa was one of the most underrated signings, He brings terrific value on a 4-year, $35 million contract. Ted Karras will fill in at center after agreeing to a 3-year deal.
Cincy was not done. The Cowboys released La’el Collins after failing to find a trade partner. The Bengals and Collins agreed to a 3-year, $21 million contract. At one point, Collins was one of the league’s best right tackles. If he’s healthy, Cincinnati got another steal.
Left guard is the only concern left. The Bengals’ offensive line should be much better next season.
Stayed the Same: Linebackers
Cincy’s top linebackers are unchanged. They did not draft a linebacker and made no major signings. The Bengals will roll with their young unit.
Adding one LB would have been helpful for depth, but it was not necessary. Logan Wilson is a budding star. Plus, Germaine Pratt and Akeem Davis-Gaither were much-improved last season. Deciding to stick with this trio is the right decision.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 15, 2021
Every starter is on an upward trajectory. Until that changes, the Bengals have their unit figured out.
Got Worse: Safety Problem Could Arise
Cincinnati stayed the same or got better at every position, but safety could be an issue down the road. This revolves around Jessie Bates’ contract situation.
The sides have been in contract negotiations for months. In the meantime, the Bengals signed Bates to the franchise tag. Bates did not like that, as he clearly wants a long-term deal. He plans to skip OTAs, which has fueled trade rumors.
There’s a real possibility Cincy could be without Bates this season. He has been their best safety for two seasons, making it a potential huge loss. The Bengals have insurance after drafting Daxton Hill in the first round. Hill has the chance to be a superstar, but it will take time.
Overall, the Bengals did not get worse anywhere. Safety could be an issue down the road, but they have insurance with the rookie Hill. The offensive line will look drastically different next season. Protecting their star quarterback was the highest priority.
- Week 1: 9/11 vs Steelers, 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 2: 9/18 vs Cowboys, 4:25 p.m., CBS
- Week 3: 9/25 vs Jets, 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 4: 9/29 vs Dolphins (Thursday), 8:15 p.m., Amazon Prime Video
- Week 5: 10/9 vs Ravens, 8:20 p.m., NBC
- Week 6: 10/16 vs Saints, 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 7: 10/23 vs Falcons, 1 p.m., Fox
- Week 8: 10/31 vs Browns (Monday), 8:15 p.m., ESPN
- Week 9: 11/6 vs Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox
- Week 10: BYE
- Week 11: 11/20 vs Steelers, 8:20 p.m., NBC
- Week 12: 11/27 vs Titans, 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 13: 12/4 vs Chiefs, 4:25 p.m., CBS
- Week 14: 12/11 vs Browns, 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 15: 12/18 vs Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m., CBS
- Week 16: 12/24 vs Patriots (Saturday), 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 17: 1/2 vs Bills (Monday), 8:30 p.m., ESPN/ABC
- Week 18: 1/7 or 8 vs Ravens, TBD, TBD