Bengals add another free agent to defense

Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi celebrates after the team defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi celebrates after the team defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Credit: Ron Schwane

Credit: Ron Schwane

The Cincinnati Bengals are keeping busy through the start of free agency.

According to several reports late Wednesday night, the Bengals have signed former Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi to a one-year contract and the team was set to host free agent right tackle Riley Reiff on Thursday.

Cincinnati also is re-signing wide receiver Mike Thomas and cornerback Tony Brown to one-year deals.

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The Ogunjobi pickup – which brings the team’s new additions total to four so far – gives the Bengals a young, athletic 3-technique player to pair with D.J. Reader inside, while new arriving defensive end Trey Hendrickson addresses a need on the edge opposite Sam Hubbard.

It could signal the end of Geno Atkins’ time with Cincinnati, as the organization tries to address needs through younger talent. Atkins is 10 days shy of his 33rd birthday, and the Bengals traded his 2010 draft mate, Carlos Dunlap, midseason last year. Atkins, who struggled through a shoulder injury last year, is under contract through 2023 with a cap hit of $14.7 million this year but just $5.2 million in dead money if he’s cut.

Ogunjobi, 26, was a third-round pick out of Charlotte in 2017 and started 46 of 48 games for Cleveland over the last three years, following 14 appearances with one start as a rookie. He’s posted 13.5 sacks since taking over a starting role in 2018, and he was part of a defense that ended the league’s longest playoff drought last year.

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The Bengals now have addressed the need to find players who can rush and cover with Ogunjobi and Hendrickson joining new cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton. Brown and safety Brandon Wilson, who was re-signed on Tuesday, also add to the moves on defense this offseason.

Now it seems the attention is turning to the offense, as the Bengals seek to add weapons and protection for Joe Burrow. If Reiff’s visit goes well, he would be a key piece on the offensive line, and reports indicate the Bengals also have provided an offer to wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who was set to visit with the Giants, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Reiff, 32, has spent the last four years with the Vikings after opening his career in 2021 with a five-year stint in Detroit. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Reiff allowed just one sack and had just one penalty in 2020. He’s started 127 of 135 games he has played over the last nine years.

Golladay is one of the top receivers on the market, despite playing just five games last year while dealing with a hip flexor injury that some speculated was lingering in part because of contract talks. He was a Pro Bowl pick in 2019 after catching 65 passes for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns.

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