With the addition of top runner Trey Hendrickson, cornerbacks Mike Hilton and Chidobe Awuzie and Geno protege Larry Ogunjobi on the defensive tackle, the Bengals are set to start two defensive starters in Taylor’s opening game that opened. the 2019 season in Seattle. The Fab Five all zoomed in with the Cincinnati media on a crazy March Friday. No question, they said, Burrow was a draw.
“Just by seeing what they’re building. In those four years of playing these guys I saw the type of players they had and what they were building, ”said former Steeler Hilton. “Once they brought in Joe (Burrow) to be the franchise guy, he showed me what he was capable of and that really drew me here. I am delighted to be here and to get the train rolling.
With those players in the fold Thursday night and Reiff on his recruiting visit, Taylor skillfully brought everyone together in a room upstairs at The Precinct, Ruby’s place on the east side. Burrow was at the center of his recruiting efforts and he apparently pretty much had Reiff as a hello.
“Just the way he behaves,” Reiff said. ” Is doing. Looks like a down to earth Cincinnati type. We just sat all over the place. But really impressed with him.… Tough, Midwestern, blue collar. Come to work. ”
Hilton, who played with Big Ben in Pittsburgh, also sensed Burrow’s great presence. All five of them got to see him when they passed through the rehab space and Hilton saw him at dinner.
“Dude, I’m just talking to him. Like I said, he has an aura about him, ”Hilton said. “He’s a young man, but he’s in charge of the room. He is proud to be the leader of the team and just kisses the room. ”
Reiff, 32, is the centerpiece of the Bengals’ week-long free agent effort led by professional scouting director Steven Radecivic.
The Bengals have started the week in search of offensive linemen as well as top players. They had a plan in which if the reduced salary cap of $ 15 million brought prices down, they believed they would have a chance of catching two top runners while doing a one-guard run.
But they were also prepared if prices were at pre-pandemic levels and, like last year on the first day of free agency, when they quickly left linebackers, they adjusted to the increase in numbers. and went to another plan they had devised.
They knew they had to give up a lot on a single rusher and did so when they signed Hendrickson on a record-breaking $ 60 million contract on the first night of free agency. Also on that first day, they were apparently interested in the best guard on the market, Joe Thuney. But as the bidding passed $ 50 million, they also knew Reiff was there and they noticed that there were some good cornerbacks as well. They ended up getting two starters at Hilton and Awuzie for what many were paying for a cornerback.
Ogunjobi was a thorn for the Bengals playing in Cleveland and they had high marks on him. As they filled the need for a threesome technique Wednesday night, Radicevic was constantly on the phone to get Reiff a visit for Thursday.
“My agent contacted me and told me these guys are pretty persistent,” Reiff said. “Would you like to go see what it is?” I said it, absolutely. Not being in this division we really didn’t have a lot of crossover but once I got here I was very impressed with the guys, the coaches and I’m excited. .
“Tell yourself the truth if it didn’t work out.” I just wanted to see the stadium. If it didn’t work out, I played nine to ten years, usually you play in a lot of stadiums and I haven’t played it here. If all else failed, at least I could say I saw the stadium. ”
Reiff was the key. The Bengals wanted to make him more than a tour. They didn’t have Thuney, but they also knew they had a chance against Reiff, one of the NFL’s most consistent linemen since the Lions pulled him out of Iowa in the first round of 2012. A proven protector for Burrow had always been a priority.