The Cincinnati Bengals have pledged to support QB Joe Burrow “in the best way possible”, including help from the O line

INDIANAPOLIS — As Cincinnati becomes a destination for free agents, the franchise remains committed to supporting star quarterback Joe Burrow, according to Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin.

That could include bolstering the team’s offensive line after the Bengals surrendered 74 sacks in 2021.

“He’s the real deal,” Tobin said, speaking at the NFL Combine on Tuesday, of Burrow. “Our job, as I said when we drafted him, is to support him as best we can. This league is about quarterbacks. And when you have one, you have to support him as best you can. can.”

Tobin was unwilling to definitively cite the offensive line as the Bengals’ top priority this offseason after Burrow was sacked 19 times in four postseason games, including seven times in the Super Bowl LVI loss to the Rams of Los Angeles.

In fact, Tobin opened his press conference at the Indiana Convention Center by praising unity for helping Burrow and the Bengals put on a productive offense and win the franchise’s first AFC championship in 33 years.

But while the unit was not reprimanded on Tuesday, Tobin said the team will look to find ways to improve — which could include a potential trade for a starting offensive lineman.

“Sometimes there’s a win-win there,” Tobin said. “But we don’t turn down opportunities to reflect. Trades are one of those things.”

Tobin referenced the deal in the 2021 preseason that sent former first-round pick Billy Price to the New York Giants for defensive tackle BJ Hill. Price was the Giants’ starting center, while Hill produced 5.5 sacks for Cincinnati.

Bengals coach Zac Taylor, who recently got a contract extension through the 2026 season, acknowledged the conversation about the team’s pass blocking after what happened in the playoffs.

“I know what the narrative is,” Taylor said. “I get it. We don’t want our quarterback to be sacked or beaten like he was. At the same time, the other side of the coin is that these guys have done a lot of good things for us. “

Tobin said the Bengals will have several resources at their disposal to improve the roster. The Bengals will have eight draft picks and $47.7 million in salary cap space, according to Roster Management System.

Cincinnati ranked 30th in pass block success rate in the regular season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Bengals are still optimistic that some of their young players, like second-round pick Jackson Carman, can be key contributors.

But that won’t stop Cincinnati from taking steps to ensure Burrow is backed as the Bengals look to repeat as AFC champions.

“You don’t just run 1,000 yards and have two 1,000 yard receivers and the quarterback’s had the year he’s had and be able to win every game you’ve made if the line doesn’t wasn’t doing a very good job,” Taylor said. . “That doesn’t mean we’re not going to assess our whole squad. You can always improve. That’s what it will be for the next few weeks.”