Dave Lapham believes the Bengals have discussed Larry Warford, but there are 'a lot of variables in the equation'

James Rapien

Larry Warford and the Cincinnati Bengals are a perfect match. 

The organization has struggled in the trenches in each of the past four seasons. They desperately need to protect No. 1 pick Joe Burrow and a three-time Pro Bowl guard just happened to get released last month. 

Warford will turn 29 on June 18. He's made the Pro Bowl in each of the past three seasons.  

Dave Lapham discussed the possibility of Cincinnati signing Warford on the Bengals Booth Podcast.

"There are a lot of people around the league trying to determine whether they make a run at him or not," Lapham said. "Part of it right now is economics. That's why he's not a New Orleans Saint anymore."

Warford reportedly wants around $7 million per season, which is close what he was scheduled to make this season before the Saints released him.

"The Bengals have some high draft picks every round so they're going to be spending some money on their rookies," Lapham said. "You want to extend A.J. Green. You want to extend Joe Mixon. Where are your priorities and how far along are you in the process of all those things and what might be left over?"

Cincinnati will have around $16.5 million in cap space after they sign all seven of their draft picks. 

That gives them plenty of money to extend Green, who already has an $18 million cap hit in 2020. Mixon's signing bonus would go against the 2020 cap, but his base salary would likely stay the same this season. 

That means the Bengals should have plenty of room to sign Warford. 

If they weren't comfortable with their cap situation, they could move on from a veteran. Releasing Alex Redmond would save $2.1 million. Moving on from Shawn Williams would free up $4 million in cap space. 

"I guarantee you it's [signing Warford] been discussed," Lapham said. "There's no way in my mind the Bengals haven't kicked the tires — thought about that process. There's a lot of variables in the equation and that's the way it is with a lot of teams around the league. On top of it being the coronavirus and you can't get your hands on him and give him a physical."

Warford would be the Bengals' starting right guard, which would allow Xavier Su'a-Filo and Michael Jordan to compete for the left guard spot. Suddenly the interior of the Bengals' line would feel much more complete. 

Warford doesn't come without flaws. The Saints had reportedly grown frustrated with his lack of conditioning and declining skills, according to Katherine Terrell of The Athletic. 

"This year with the coronavirus and you have to be a self-starter in terms of working out and finding a place to work out," Lapham said. "You have to really commit yourself to your profession. And he had problems last year in that regard? Boy, he'd be radioactive until I can at least see him. Is he a hot mess or is he in a modicum of condition that you can work with where he might be able to get back to playing at his prior form."

Despite the weight concerns, Warford was the 11th-highest rated guard in the NFL last season according to Pro Football Focus, finishing with a 73.1 grade. He'd instantly become the Bengals' most accomplished offensive lineman. 

The coronavirus has put a stop to free agency. Teams are unable to bring in free agents for physicals, which hurts veteran players' chances of being signed.

There are plenty of quality players that remain on the market. That is expected to change between now and the start of training camp. 

Warford is a perfect fit for the Bengals. Even though they're confident in their young offensive line, it's good to see that people around the team believe the organization is open to adding a player like Warford at this stage of the offseason. 

Listen to the entire episode of the Bengals Booth Podcast with Dan Hoard and Lapham below.

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