The Bengals are one of the few teams that have cap space this offseason. With the projected cap set to be around $180 million, organizations like the Rams and Packers will have to shed salary and move on from some of their veteran players.
Green Bay got a jump on things on Friday. They parted ways with veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey and right tackle Rick Wagner.
The Bengals' biggest need is in the trenches and Wagner gives them another quality free agent option that they should consider signing.
The 31-year-old made nine starts and appeared in all 16 games for the Packers last season. He was an high-end pass blocker according to Pro Football Focus, finishing with a 78.2 grade in pass protection and a 77 overall score.
At 6-6, 315 pounds, he has the size the Bengals are looking for at tackle. Wagner would be a nice veteran addition to a line that needs more proven players.
The Ravens drafted him out of the University of Wisconsin in the fifth-round (168th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. He spent four years in Baltimore, three years in Detroit and last season in Green Bay.
Wagner was set to have a $6 million cap hit in 2021 which is why the Packers released him. The Bengals have an opportunity to scoop up quality veterans to help fix their offensive line.
Wagner helped Green Bay finish tied for second in the NFL in sacks allowed (21) in 2020. They allowed one sack or zero sacks in a league-best 13 games, which tied a Packers record. He allowed one sack and one quarterback hit in 608 offensive snaps according to PFF.
Wagner has been a much better player than Bobby Hart and wouldn't break the bank. Signing him wouldn't prevent them from going after another right tackle in free agency or the draft. It just gives them another guy to put out there that can help keep star quarterback Joe Burrow on his feet.
The Bengals are projected to have $37 million in cap space. They can free up another $20 million by moving on from veterans like Geno Atkins, BJ Finney and Hart.
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