Bengals offensive line shakeup continues by cutting Bobby Hart after signing Riley Reiff
Before Friday, the Bengals signing Bobby Hart to a three-year contract in 2019 was one of the most aggressive moves that the team had made for an offensive tackle in free agency.
Now, the Bengals have made a more aggressive move at right tackle to improve their offensive line.
After the Bengals signed standout Riley Reiff to start at right tackle in 2021, Cincinnati moved on from Hart, who had made 45 starts for the team. By cutting Hart after the second year of his contract, Cincinnati is expected to create about $6 million in cap room to sign other free agents.
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Hart was one of the Bengals best offensive lineman in 2020, but Cincinnati continued to overhaul that position group after quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked 32 times in 10 games last season.
Any time you can upgrade a unit on your team, you’ve got to do it,” head coach Zac Taylor said. “We did that with (Reiff).”
In the first game of the 2020 season, Hart started on the offensive line alongside Xavier Su’a-Filo, Trey Hopkins, Michael Jordan and Jonah Williams. Since then, Cincinnati had two right guards who started games in 2020 enter free agency, and the Bengals released another full-time starter in Hart.
Taylor said Williams will start at left tackle and Reiff will start at right tackle in 2021.
After the first week of free agency, the Bengals offensive line remains a work in progress.
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“The thing that you love about those two guys is that they’re extremely flexible and would do whatever you ask them to do,” Taylor said. “Play guard, play center, play right tackle, they just want to help the team win. When you’ve got guys like that, it puts you in a tremendous position.”
The Bengals are still weighing options to improve the rest of their offensive line.
Su’a-FIlo remains under contract and can start at both guard positions, and Hopkins will return as the starting center after he comes back from a torn ACL. But Jordan, backup center Billy Price and reserve guard Keaton Sutherland are the only other interior linemen under contract for 2021.
The Bengals also still have offensive tackles Fred Johnson and Hakeem Adeniji, who started 11 combined games last season.
“It’s hard to replace an entire offensive line when you’re looking to do that, (but) we’re not trying to do that entirely,” offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. “We’re always looking for guys that can help us. If something comes available at some point, free agency still isn’t all the way over yet.”
Other Bengals news and notes:
Finley to Houston: According to NFL Network, the Bengals traded Ryan Finley to the Houston Texans in exchange for a late round pick swap.
Finley was a 2019 fourth-round pick by the Bengals. His best moment in Cincinnati was when he led the Bengals to a Monday Night Football upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.
Finley had a 1-3 overall record as a starting QB in Cincinnati. He had 638 passing yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions as a Bengals quarterback.