Cincinnati Bengals committed to supporting QB Joe Burrow 'in the best way we can,' including O-line help

INDIANAPOLIS -- As Cincinnati becomes a destination location 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 beefing up the team's offensive line after the Bengals surrendered 74 sacks in 2021.

"He's the real deal," Tobin, speaking Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine, said of Burrow. "Our job, like I said when we drafted him, is to support him in the best way we can. This league is about quarterbacks. And when you have one, you've gotta support him the best way you can."

Tobin didn't want to definitively cite the offensive line as the Bengals' top offseason priority after Burrow was sacked 19 times in four postseason games, including seven times in the Super Bowl LVI loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

In fact, Tobin opened his news conference at the Indiana Convention Center by praising the unit for helping Burrow and the Bengals field a productive offense and win the franchise's first AFC championship in 33 years.

But while the unit wasn't admonished 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 win-wins to be had out there," Tobin said. "But we don't turn down opportunities to think about things. Trades are one of those things."

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

Bengals coach Zac Taylor, who was recently given a contract extension through the 2026 season, acknowledged the conversation about the team's pass blocking after what happened in the postseason.

"I know what the narrative is," Taylor said. "I get it. We don't want our quarterback to be sacked or hit like he was. At the same time the other side of it is those guys did a lot of great 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 win rate in the regular season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Bengals are still optimistic that some of their young players, such as second-round pick Jackson Carman, can be key contributors.

But that won't stop Cincinnati from making moves to ensure Burrow is supported as the Bengals look to repeat as AFC champions.

"You don't just run for 1,000 yards and have two 1,000-yard receivers and the quarterback had the year he had and be able to win all the games you did if the line wasn't doing a really good job," Taylor said. "That doesn't mean we are not going to evaluate our entire team. You can always get better. That's what it will be these next couple weeks."