Not to criticize the strategy of spending big bucks on a guard in free agency, but the Bengals will never do that. As we know too well, they limit themselves in so many ways. They're also notoriously finicky about free agents. If you squint your eyes real hard you can kind-of see them taking the following steps. It's going to be hard to fix that line in a single offseason, and it will take more than a bit of luck.
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.
Bell-cow quarterbacks are like queen bees. Only one can take you to the land of milk and honey.
~ What Mike Brown should have said, versus what he did say.