The Cincinnati Bengals knew what their main priority was heading into the 2022 offseason.
Fix the offensive line.
They did just that by signing three free agents who are known as capable, proven NFL players that have entrenched themselves as starters with their former teams.
The trio of Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, and La’el Collins are bound to make what is an already-scary offense even scarier in 2022. But, they’ll also be tasked with the most important responsibility of all: protecting Joe Burrow.
And as it turns out, The Athletic‘s Paul Dehner Jr. has labeled the signing of Collins as the Bengals’ best move of the offseason:
“Take your pick among the three offensive linemen inked during the first week of free agency. Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La’el Collins re-establish credibility at the liability of last year’s team. But if we are picking, I’d side with Collins. The move brings an elite skill set to right tackle and reunites him with offensive line coach Frank Pollack. Also, the Bengals played it shrewdly by reading the market, not panicking and trying to trade, instead waiting for his release and then signing Collins at a team-friendly three-year, $21 million deal with only $5 million guaranteed.”
Collins still carries a risk factor, however
Collins had a Pro Bowl-caliber season in 2019, but a hip injury kept him from playing in 2020. He then quickly fell out of favor in Dallas after he received a five-game suspension for missing drug tests and allegedly bribing the drug test collector in 2021.
It also didn’t help that his replacement, Terrence Steele, played pretty well in Collins’ stead.
All of the above circumstances are what led to Dallas’ decision to release Collins.
Has Collins learned his lesson and will he clear up his issues from 2021? The Bengals already have one offensive lineman in Jackson Carman who’s maturity is in question. They can’t afford their newly-appointed starting right tackle to slip up this year.
It will be interesting to see how Collins performs in 2022 and if can get out from under the cloud that’s followed him over the last couple of years.
But, for now, it’s plausible to see why some would think he’s the Bengals’ best move of the offseason.
You can check out The Athletic‘s full column, here.
Featured image via Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK