The Bengals are doing the right thing by working to strengthen their offensive line, but kicking Cordy Glenn inside to guard is not the right decision.
The minute the Bengals elected to spend a first-round draft pick on Jonah Williams it was obvious someone along their offensive line would be changing positions. Unfortunately for fans in Cincinnati, their coaching staff has elected to make the wrong change.
According to Paul Dehner, Jr. of The Athletic, Cordy Glenn was informed by Bengals’ offensive line coach Jim Turner that he would be losing his starting spot at left tackle to make room for Williams. That, in and of itself isn’t a huge surprise or a big problem. The Bengals front office clearly drafted Williams with the idea that he could be a franchise left tackle.
Some scouts feel like Williams projects better as a guard, but for the moment it’s fair to give the Bengals coaching staff the benefit of the doubt. It’s entirely possible that Williams can slot in as at least a quality starter at left tackle for the next decade. That represents a good use of a first round draft pick and the salary required to compensate him.
The issue here is that the Bengals are moving Glenn to the wrong position. They’ve told him he’s going to kick inside and play left guard during the 2019 season. He has the size and athleticism to play that position well, but it’s not where he can give his team the most value.
The move Cincinnati’s coaching staff should be making is to move Glenn to right tackle to move Bobby Hart to the bench. Admittedly, that might leave the Bengals with a hole to fill at guard, but it would give the team two quality tackles to protect Andy Dalton from edge rushers this season.
Now the Bengals are paying Glenn $9.25 million this season to play guard. That makes him one of the 10-highest paid players in the NFL at his position. That’s a significant overpay for a player who hasn’t concretely proven he can play like a Pro Bowler at guard.
Glenn’s salary wouldn’t make him a bargain at the right tackle position, but he’s a better player than Hart is on the outside. It’s very possible that Glenn could turn into one of the best five right tackles in football with a little time to adjust to the position. That lines up well with where he’ll be compensated next season.
The Bengals will undoubtedly spin Glenn’s move as an effort to get their five best offensive lineman on the field at once. They may have accomplished that goal by moving Glenn to guard, but they haven’t managed their offensive line resources well at all. Don’t be surprised if Glenn gets moved to right tackle at some point this season after a poor stretch of play from Hart.