The opening day overhaul of the right side of the Bengals offensive line is complete less than a week after the start of free agency.
After a weekend of heavy negotiations that included a sighting at the Kenwood Mall, multiple outlets reported Sunday that the Bengals’ shopping spree now includes a deal for former Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins.
Collins, who will be 29 the week training camp begins to wrap up a year he was ranked as the NFL’s third-best run blocker by Pro Football Focus, joins right guard Alex Cappa and center Ted Karras for quarterback Joe Burrow. guard protection.
Cappa and Karras were introduced on Friday, the day Collins arrived in Cincinnati following his release from Dallas. After Burrow welcomed him for a Friday night visit with part of the offensive line, Collins was seen in Kenwood Saturday afternoon as Denver-based agent Peter Schaffer worked the phone with the Bengals.
Collins has comfortable ties to Cincinnati. He shares his LSU pedigree with Burrow and several other Bengals and offensive line coach Frank Pollack had the same job in Dallas when the Cowboys signed Collins as an undrafted free agent in 2015. By the time Pollack left after Collins’ third season, he had molded him from a starting left guard to a starting right tackle allowing just two sacks last season in 454 pass-blocking snaps.
Collins was also seen working with Willie Anderson, the Bengals’ all-time right tackle and Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist.
“I had a great relationship with LC. I love him to death,” Pollack said Friday. “He definitely fits the mold of the glass eater. Look at his tape. It’s clearly evident. He’s mean. He’s a lot of fun to train. We’ll see where this all leads.”
Apparently that happened and the Bengals are believed to have passed the $40 million committed salary cap for 2022 since the start of the NFL’s new year on Wednesday. They also visited defensive tackle Jarran Reed on Friday and they may see their own defensive tackle, Larry Ogunjobi, again.
Ogunjobi, who earned a three-year, $40.5 million contract in Chicago after his seven career sacks with the Bengals, has failed his physique with the Bears. Ogunjobi broke his foot in the Wild Card and if the Bengals consider it, they’ll likely do so later to see how the foot heals.