Two problems came up during the Bengals’ loss that could be addressed via free agency.
- The offensive line, outside of the three new guys, struggled.
- Wide receiver depth could be a problem this year for Cincinnati.
The Bengals somewhat overhauled their offensive line this offseason by signing Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, and La’el Collins.
Those three guys played well against Pittsburgh. According to Pro Football Focus, Cincinnati’s three new offensive linemen combined to give up just four pressures against Pittsburgh (Karras allowed zero, Cappa allowed three, and Collins allowed one).
Left tackle Jonah Williams and rookie left guard Cordell Volson, however, allowed seven pressures each according to PFF.
That’s obviously not ideal.
The Bengals are too good — offensively and defensively — to be hamstrung by a struggling offensive line. This team can’t waste this opportunity this season, with key players like Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase on their rookie contracts. They have to figure this out.
That’s why I think they should strongly consider signing free-agent offensive tackle Eric Fisher.
Fisher, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, was a Pro-Bowler in 2020, but he suffered a torn Achilles in the 2020 playoffs. He was released by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2020 season and signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
The former Central Michigan standout struggled early with the Colts, but he looked more like his old self by the end of the season. That’s certainly understandable as Achilles injuries take a while to truly recover from.
Fisher has said he wants to play this season, but he’s waiting on the right situation.
If the #Cowboys develop interest in Eric Fisher as potential solution to OT issues with Tyron Smith injury, a source says former No. 1 overall pick wants to play this season but will be selective and has turned down offers from nine teams so far.— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) August 25, 2022
Maybe he’d view playing with the defending AFC Champion Bengals as the right opportunity
The other move I think Cincinnati needs to make is at wide receiver. Tee Higgins was knocked out of Sunday’s loss to the Steelers because of a concussion, which forced Mike Thomas into a bigger role.
We knew before the season started that wide receiver depth could be a problem for the Bengals if the team suffered any injuries at the position.
Higgins says he’s feeling better and he went through individual drills on Wednesday at practice.
Tee Higgins doing individual drills today at practice, looking nimble. pic.twitter.com/LtARJ3AqJX— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) September 14, 2022
Even though it appears Cincinnati may have dodged a bullet, they should still take Higgins’ concussion as a sign that they need to add some wide receiver depth.
The Bengals could sign Odell Beckham Jr — though he wouldn’t be of any help until late November at the earliest due to his torn ACL. Or they could sign a dependable veteran like Cole Beasley, a player that could be beneficial for Burrow on underneath routes (quick passes are one way to make up for poor offensive line play).
These are two easy moves the Bengals could make that would help the team in a big way this season. And neither would come with a big risk.
Featured image via Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports