Dave Lapham on the Possibility of the Bengals Addressing Offensive Line in Free Agency

Lapham thinks Cincinnati will look for help on the open market

CINCINNATI — The Bengals' offensive line is by far their biggest weakness heading into the offseason. 

Fans are hoping that the team will try to sign top-tier free agents like guard Joe Thuney, offensive tackle Trent Williams or other proven players. 

Radio analyst Dave Lapham discussed the possibility of Cincinnati adding a proven guard on the latest Bengals Booth Podcast.

"I think they've got plenty of options inside," Lapham said. "I think the veteran players have proven [that] at the end of the season. They got (Xavier) Su'a-Filo [that] knows what he's doing. There's no question about it. They've got veteran players that have played multiple positions and definitely can play guard."

Xavier Su'a-Filo is under contract for the next two seasons. They were also pleased with what Quinton Spain did in his nine games with the team. Spain is a free agent, but they should be able to re-sign him if they want him back.

They also have guys like Billy Price, Michael Jordan and Fred Johnson that took reps at guard in 2020. 

The Bengals don't value guard like they value tackle. That's why they let Kevin Zeitler leave in free agency following the 2016 season. 

Expecting them to sign Thuney to a record-setting deal is unrealistic given their history, even if he would be a huge upgrade. 

Addressing tackle in free agency would make more sense than guard. Jonah Williams has shown flashes, but he's missed 22 of a possible 32 games in his first two seasons due to various injuries. 

It does sound like Lapham expects the Bengals to do their due diligence at the tackle position.

"I do think if they could find an improvement on the edge [offensive tackle], that's where the rubber meets the road in free agency if they can get it done," he said. 

Lapham went on to rule out one potential free agent tackle. Alejandro Villanueva has been a beacon of consistency for the Steelers at the tackle position. He's made 90 consecutive regular season starts for Pittsburgh. 

The 32-year-old is set to hit free agency. Lapham believes his best days are behind him.

"I would not give a lot of money to Villanueva at this stage of his career. I think he's definitely on the back nine," Lapham said. "If Pittsburgh wants to pay him for being a great player for all of those years, then great, but if I'm the Bengals I'm not going to pay him for being a great Steeler. I want him to be a great Bengal."

READ MORE: Trent Williams Expected to Test Free Agency

READ MORE: The Top 10 Plays From the Bengals' 2020 Season

Bengals defensive end Carl Lawson got the best of Villanueva in Cincinnati's 27-17 win over Pittsburgh in Week 15. The 25-year-old finished with one sack and six quarterback hits. Lawson was running circles around the veteran tackle.

Villanueva would still probably be an upgrade from Bobby Hart, but he's more of a question mark than some of the other veteran options that could hit the market.

Adding one of the top tackles in this class like Taylor Moton, Russell Okung or Williams could do wonders for Joe Burrow and the Bengals' offensive. 

Listen to Lapham's entire conversation with Dan Hoard below. 


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