CINCINNATI — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been hit far too often this season.
The 23-year-old has been sacked 22 times, which is the most in the NFL. He's also been hit 50 times in five games.
Burrow was taken down seven times in Sunday's loss to the Ravens. Some of those sacks were his fault, but the Bengals can't blame him for the protection issues they've had this season. They haven't been able to protect the No. 1 pick and the future of the franchise.
If this team is going to be competitive over the next five years, it's going to be because Burrow becomes a franchise quarterback. They need to stop sitting on their hands and waiting for things to get better.
This team can't wait for Michael Jordan to develop. They can't wait for Xavier Su'a-Filo to get healthy. They can't hope for Alex Redmond to play more disciplined.
Instead of waiting, they can go after free agent guard Josh Kline. The Cincinnati-native started 13 games for the Vikings last season. He spent three years with the Patriots and three years with the Titans prior to 2019.
Kline is an experienced right guard that could give them some stability at that position. The Bengals have already used four different players at that spot this season.
Kline allowed two sacks in 2019 and was penalized three times according to Pro Football Focus.
The Bengals right guards have been awful this season. According to PFF, they've allowed 21 combined pressures in five games—Fred Johnson (9), Redmond (6), Price (4) and Su'a-Filo (2).
Kline allowed 21 pressures in 13 games for the Vikings last season. He isn't a dominant player, but he can be a competent right guard. The Bengals desperately need another competent starting offensive linemen.
Bobby Hart takes a lot of criticism and rightfully so, but the Bengals' biggest issue in the trenches has been their guard play.
Second-year linemen Michael Jordan has allowed 15 pressures in five games. He was solid in Week 1, but has struggled for most of the season.
He may end up becoming a good player, but the Bengals can't risk Burrow's well-being while Jordan develops.
Signing Kline would allow them to move Su'a-Filo to right guard when he recovers from an ankle injury he suffered against the Chargers in Week 1. It increases their depth at a position of need. Instead of hoping for development, they can bank on an experienced veteran that has a proven track record.
Kline has started at least 13 games in each of the past five seasons. He did suffer two concussions last season, but he returned to action after clearing protocol.
This is a no-brainer for an organization that needs do to one thing moving forward: protect Burrow.
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