Bengals Rumors

Latest On Clint Boling’s Retirement, Bengals’ O-Line

The Bengals’ offensive line took another major hit today when Clint Boling announced his retirement. Boling, who had served as the club’s primary left guard since 2012, was expected to reprise that role in 2019. Although it looked as though he might be squeezed into a backup job (or even cut) when Cincinnati drafted LT Jonah Williams in April, Williams’ season-ending labrum tear forced the Bengals to shift Cordy Glenn from left guard back to left tackle, thereby keeping the door open for Boling.

But as reported earlier today, Boling felt compelled to end his playing career due to health reasons. Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com passes along more details on that front, reporting that Boling went to the hospital several days after the 2018 season ended due to pain his right leg. Tests revealed a blood clot, and when the issue didn’t subside, Boling returned to the hospital, at which point doctors discovered a pulmonary embolism (meaning another clot had found its way to his lungs).

Boling believes his clots were related to football, and while he considered returning to the field, he ultimately determined it wasn’t worth the risk for him or his family.

And even though the Bengals certainly respect his decision, the fact remains that the team’s O-line, already an area of concern given its performance over the last several seasons, is getting dangerously thin. But new head coach Zac Taylor expressed confidence in the unit and suggested that the team’s next left guard is already on the roster. Taylor said, per Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer, “[w]e have a lot of guys in there that can compete for those jobs. The left guard spot will be a competition in training camp and we’ll be excited to see what happens there. We have a lot of good guys in the mix who we are counting on to step up and do their job.”

Taylor, who also said “we’ll be good” when discussing the revolving door on the left side of the O-line, certainly makes it sound as if the club will not be looking to make any outside additions. But it would not be surprising to see the Bengals pick up a veteran or two over the next few weeks. After all, in addition to being the team’s starting LG, Boling also served as the backup LT, and the trio that is now expected to compete for the LG job — Christian WestermanJohn Jerry, and Trey Hopkins — doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals G Clint Boling Retires

On Monday, Bengals guard Clint Boling announced his retirement from the NFL. The veteran was hoping to play in 2019, but an undisclosed injury has brought his career to a close. 

After eight years in the NFL, it is time for me to step away from the game due to medical reasons,” Boling said in a press release. “This is not an easy decision, but it is the right one for me, my wife Kelly and our two young girls. I want to thank the Brown family for giving me the opportunity to play my entire career with the Bengals. I also want to thank my teammates, coaches, fans and everyone who has supported me throughout my career.”

A blood clot played heavily into this decision, Boling said (via ESPN.com’s Katherine Terrell, on Twitter). The clot was discovered days after the 2018 season ended and required hospitalization. If not for that issue, Boling said he would have returned this season.

Boling first joined the Bengals in 2011 as a fourth-round draft pick out of the University of Georgia. He went on to become a key figure on the offensive line with 109 starts at left guard with occasional time spent at right guard and tackle.

It’s yet another blow to the Bengals’ offensive line after the loss of first-round tackle Jonah Williams. Christian Westerman, John Jerry, and Trey Hopkins figure to compete for the LG job now that Boling is out of the running and Cordy Glenn has been kicked back to the outside.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Supplemental Draft Order

The NFL’s Supplemental Draft order does not go by the inverted win/loss records of clubs. Instead, the order is dictated by a weighted lottery that uses a team’s win percentage as just part of the equation. Here, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) is the complete order of the supplemental draft:

1. Lions
2. Broncos
3. Jets
4. Cardinals
5. Giants
6. Bills
7. Raiders
8. 49ers
9. Jaguars
10. Packers
11. Bengals
12. Bucs
13. Falcons
14. Vikings
15. Redskins
16. Titans
17. Dolphins
18. Steelers
19. Panthers
20. Browns
21. Ravens
22. Patriots
23.Cowboys
24. Seahawks
25. Eagles
26. Texans
27. Bears
28. Colts
29. Saints
30. Chiefs
31. Chargers
32. Rams

The supplemental draft is conducted via email. If multiple teams submit a pick for the same player in the same round, this order dictates which club gets the player. Of course, any team picking a player in the supplemental draft will sacrifice the corresponding pick in the 2020 draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

DE Carl Lawson Eyeing Week 1 Return

Carl Lawson is less than nine months removed from suffering a torn ACL, but the Bengals defensive end is still confident that he’ll be ready for the start of the season. The 24-year-0ld told NFL Network’s Good Morning Football that he’s looking to return in time for Week 1.

“The goal is to be out there Week 1, and I’m feeling great,” Lawson said (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra). “Thankfully I can take care of my body, I’ve got a lot of different resources, I can fly to places, I can do everything underneath the sun because I have the money to do it. So, it’s been a great rehab process.”

Lawson was selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft and immediately contributed on the Bengals’ defensive line. While Cincy limited his playing time during his rookie campaign (Lawson played 41% of the team’s defensive snaps in 2017), he still managed to post 8.5 sacks and 21 quarterback hits, the latter of which tied him for 19th league-wide. This past season, Lawson had posted only one sack, but still was ranked as a top-15 edge rusher, per Pro Football Focus.

The Bengals will look a whole lot different in 2019, with head coach Zac Taylor leading the new additions. The team will also welcome back a number of injured players, including Andy DaltonA.J. GreenPreston Brown and (potentially) Tyler Eifert. If the Bengals can remain healthy next season, Lawson is confident that the team can compete.

“You can expect a lot, but at the same time, in this league, that’s what separates different teams, being able to be healthy throughout the season,” he said. “I think the main thing is being able to have that depth, and that carry over, so when things do happen. You know, because everybody’s like ‘Oh, well if we were healthy, if this or that, whatever’ — not that many injuries as we had last year — but I think you can expect a lot from us.”

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Bengals Likely To Add Tackle Help

  • The Bengals suffered a tough blow a couple of weeks ago when it was announced that Jonah Williams would likely miss his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury. Williams was the 11th overall pick in April’s draft, and Cincy was counting on him to start at left tackle. Cordy Glenn will slide over from guard to take his place, but the Bengals are now pretty thin at tackle. As such, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic expects the Bengals to make a move to add a tackle “whether a veteran cut, waiver pickup or trade.” The Bengals also have to find a replacement for Glenn at left guard, and last we heard 2016 fifth-round pick Christian Westerman is the early favorite. There aren’t too many appealing veteran options on the open market, so perhaps the Bengals will try to swing a trade. With Glenn on the left side and former Giants castoff Bobby Hart on the right side, the Bengals don’t have an enviable situation at tackle.

Westerman The Favorite To Start At LG For Bengals?

  • The Bengals were dealt a tough blow last week when it was announced Jonah Williams would likely miss the entire 2019 season due to shoulder surgery. Cincinnati was counting on the 11th overall pick to be their starting left tackle, and they’ll now have to slide Cordy Glenn over from left guard in his place. That also means they’ll have to find someone to replace Glenn at left guard. For right now Christian Westerman “appears to be option one” for the role, although there will be a camp battle for starting duties, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic hears. Westerman is a 2016 fifth-round pick who has played sparingly in his three years in the league. He’s only made two starts in his career, both of which came in 2017. It’s not an ideal situation, but Cincy’s offensive line can’t be any worse than it was last year.

Gio Bernard Getting WR Reps

Giovani Bernard was consistently one of the Bengals‘ most versatile offensive weapons during Marvin Lewis‘ tenure with the organization, but new head coach Zac Taylor is seemingly taking that to a whole new level. According to Michael LaPlaca of Bengals.com, Bernard was used in a variety of different ways during OTAs, including reps at wide receiver.

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Extension Candidate: Tyler Boyd

When it comes to extension talk in Cincinnati, much of the focus is understandably on wide receiver A.J. Green. However, the player who follows Green on the depth chart is also eligible for a sizable raise.

Former second-round receiver Tyler Boyd is set to hit free agency following the 2019 season, and Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic wrote last month that the Bengals want to extend the 24-year-old. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as the wideout broke onto the scene last year.

Following a pair of underwhelming seasons to begin his career, Boyd had a breakout campaign in 2018, hauling in 76 receptions for 1,028 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games. Part of his production could be attributed to the fact that Green missed seven games, placing Boyd atop the depth chart. On the flip side, the receiver also established a career-high catch percentage and yards-per-target.

Furthermore, Boyd adds a bit of toughness and personality to the Bengals, indicated by his decision to attend voluntary OTAs. As Dehner wrote, many extension-eligible players bypass these workouts in fear of an avoidable injury that could vicariously cost them millions. Boyd showed up anyway, stating that a pseudo-holdout would be an unnecessary distraction.

“I’m just trying to do what’s right,” Boyd said. “I’m going to be a team player and go out there and work my tail off. I’m not going to try to skip out on reps or miss a day. That’s the best approach to it. Typically, a guy trying to come out to a season saying, ‘you have to pay me,’ it shows where the care is going. He is a ‘me’ guy. Or, you are still working and going to be a team guy. I am not trying to strategize and make it seem like I’m just trying to do what’s right (to get a deal done), that’s just the way I am.”

So Boyd seems to be saying and doing all the right things, and he’s shown plenty of improvements on the field. So what kind of money will Boyd be eyeing on his next contract? The business-savvy receiver actually pointed to receiver Sterling Shepard‘s contract with the Giants, which was a four-year deal worth $41MM ($21.3MM guaranteed). Dehner suggested that Boyd could also focus on the deal that Tyrell Williams signed with the Raiders (four years, $44MM ($22MM guaranteed)).

As our own Dallas Robinson previously pointed out, Boyd topped Shepard in every offensive category this past season, and he finished higher than the Giants wideout in both Pro Football Focus‘ positional grades and Football Outsiders’ receiving metrics. Boyd’s 2019 season was comparable to Williams’ 2016 campaign, although Williams was older and coming off a pair of subpar seasons when he signed his recent deal with Oakland.

In other words, don’t be shocked if Boyd pushes for a contract that exceeds $11MM annually. Considering the receiver’s apparent affinity for Cincy, the guess here would be a four-year contract worth around $46MM (with a bit more than half guaranteed).

Of course, Boyd’s extension may be partly dependent on how the Bengals handle Green’s next deal. Regardless, expect Boyd’s superstar teammate to receive the first extension, at which time the front office will surely turn their focus to their fourth-year receiver.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Wrap Draft Class

The Bengals wrapped up their 10-man 2019 draft class today by signing third-round draft choice (No. 72 overall) Germaine Pratt. Pratt will earn just over $4MM over the life of his four-year deal and will pocket a signing bonus of a little more than $1MM.

Pratt, an NC State product, spent five seasons with the Wolfpack due to a 2016 redshirt season. He led the team in tackles (104) last year and earned First Team All-ACC honors. Cincinnati parted ways with Vontaze Burfict this offseason, and it does not appear that the club will re-sign former starter Vincent Rey, so linebacker was a clear need. Pratt, who has strong coverage skills in addition to his tackling abilities, should have a chance to contribute right away.

Here’s the full rundown of the Bengals’ class, courtesy of PFR’s tracker:

The Bengals recently received devastating news on Jonah Williams, who is likely to miss the entire 2019 season after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder. Given that Sample may need some time to develop as a receiver, it looks like Pratt has a chance to be the Bengals’ most impactful rookie this year.

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Extension Candidate: Bengals WR A.J. Green

As one of the league’s most feared wide receivers, an extension for A.J. Green should be fairly simple. Unfortunately, after yet another injury-shortened season, the negotiations figure to be a bit complicated. 

On the plus side, Bengals owner Mike Brown has indicated that he wants Green to remain in Cincinnati on a new deal.

Oh, I think he’s a proven commodity, isn’t he?,” Brown said in March. “The price range for him will be something we can figure out, it will come together. It’s true with anyone, if they suddenly get an injury..it reduces them. Well that changes the equation, but I never plan on that happening. I like to think that won’t happen. If A.J. is healthy, he’s as good a receiver as anybody in the league.”

Ditto for Green:

Cincinnati is home for me,” Green said recently. “I’ve been here nine years. This is home as much as South Carolina. All I know is Cincinnati. I can’t see myself playing anywhere else or playing in a different city. Hopefully I can be here for a couple more years, so we’ll see on that part.”

Will Green have himself a fat new contract before or soon after his 31st birthday in July? That may depend on his willingness to accept a bit of a hometown discount.

Green has missed 13 games due to injury over the past three seasons and the Bengals, historically, have not been big spenders. They’ve also recently extended teammates Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, so their flexibility is somewhat limited.

Green finished out the 2018 season with just 46 catches for 694 yards and six touchdowns, but when his nine-game season is adjusted for 16 games, those numbers are right in line with his career 75/1,113/8 average. It’s also worth noting that ’18 was only Green’s second season to fall shy of the 1,000-yard mark. The only other time that happened was in 2016, when he came just 36 yards shy, despite playing in just ten games.

Ultimately, a new deal for Green should put him right around Odell Beckham Jr.’s $18MM average annual value, particularly if fellow receivers Julio Jones and Michael Thomas ink their next deals first. Of course, Green’s deal will be shorter in length than OBJs, or, at the very least, have a much lighter load of guarantees beyond Year 2.

For now, Green is set to enter the final season of his four-year, $60MM contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.