IF you were GM, what is your plan?
Please give details, maybe Mike Brown reads this forum and he may get a few good ideas.
What I would do.....
Drop some under-performers for the dollar to free up some room to sign a mid-level O-lineman. Since the with the exception of Boling, any 3 star player would be an upgrade for now.
Ideal targets for me include the following cuts which I would consider reasonable since each player would be a FA at end of season anyhow.
Adam Jones - $5.7 million owed for 2018.
Michael Johnson - $4.9 million owed for 2018.
Brandon LaFell - $4 million owed for 2018.
Vincent Ray - $2.75 million owed for 2018.
Clark Harris $1 million owed for 2018. ( A long snapper for a mil per?!)
That's an additional $18 million that could be re-purposed for new OL FA to help bolster the draft haul. Combined with the estimated $38 million under the cap already, there should be some money left for fresh faces elsewhere such as safety.
Ideal target for FA would include.
G Justin Pugh last played on a 1 year $8 million contract. I would suggest like a 4 year $35 million contract. You now have again 1 really good guard and Clint Boling to start at G.
This leaves about $9 or 10 million or so to replace the likes of the above mentioned cuts with house money.
2018 NFL draft.
Now that Guard is solved, I would use rounds 1 and 2 to target two starters, I would suggest 1 Center and 1 Tackle.
Round 1 - Pollock's choice of OT. Presumably ND Mike McGlinchey, or trade down if available a few spots for OU Orlando Brown.
Round 2 - Presumably Billy Price in round 2, or trade up into late round 1 for Billy Price. IF neither of those options work for Price, BPA here, then
go after Iowa James Daniels in round 3 for immediate starter to replace the FA Bodine.
This plan would give the Bengals 2 or 3 reasonable starters to put with Boling, leaving the rest of the tackles to compete for the 1 remaining spot.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Five Steps to Fix The Bengals O-Line that Even Mike Brown Might Approve
1. Draft that Center from Iowa, James Daniels
Somehow, some way, get this guy on the team. I don't care if they take him at #12 even though he's projected as a late first rounder.
2. Acquire extra draft picks.
Pull off a trade for AJ McCarron or trade down in the first round. Some team will probably be in love with a quarterback who is still available at that spot. Extra high picks are needed to restock the line without neglecting other needs.
3. Draft a tackle high.
The most obvious step to take. There are supposedly good prospects in the second and third round, so it doesn't have to be at #12. Getting extra picks will help them pull this off along with getting Daniels.
4. Find a quality Right Guard who's already on the team.
Hopefully somebody will respond well to new O-line coach Frank Pollack, like Alex Redmond on Christian Westerman. They both took a step up late in the year. Heck, I don't care if it's Trey Hopkins who makes the move, but it has to be somebody on already the team. They're not going to be able to replace four-fifths of the line so quickly.
5. Develop Jake Fisher into a serviceable Right Tackle.
This may well be a pipe dream, but maybe Fisher was held back with his heart issue. Who knows, Pollack's coaching style might be a better fit.
Those last two steps are where the luck comes in. It's hard to imagine the Bengals acquiring a good center or tackle in free agency. That's where you find your backups, unless you're willing to break the bank and you're very fortunate one is available.