In 2022, the Cleveland Browns went for the home run ball when they landed Deshaun Watson. Now, the Cincinnati Bengals bucked tradition and went after one of the biggest free agents in the NFL when they signed Orlando Brown.
Landing an elite left tackle will be a huge plus for Joe Burrow as he looks to build upon two playoff trips in a row — as well as a Super Bowl berth following the 2021 campaign.
But is that move enough to check all the boxes? And are the fans for the other Ohio team concerned at all about what Cleveland has done?
Those are the questions we were able to ask Leigh Oleszczak, who runs Stipe Hype (FanSided's Cincinnati Bengals page). Here's what she had to say about the defending AFC North Champs and their in-state rival.
Q: What were the biggest needs for the Bengals to address in free agency and have they checked off those boxes?
A: The biggest needs for the Bengals before they hit free agency were offensive line, cornerback, safety, tight end, and maybe running back as well. Offensive line was hit when they signed Orlando Brown Jr. and they signed Nick Scott to play safety.
Q: Is there any frustration in regard to how the offseason has worked out for the Bengals?
A: At first, fans were definitely frustrated at how slow things were going for the team. Then, they signed Brown and all of those worries went out the window. Some fans probably wish the team had brought in more outsiders but they still have to give out what are likely to be some pricey extensions so there's only so many moves they can make.
Q: Have there been any major surprises so far?
A: Signing Brown was a bombshell! No one expected the Bengals to swing for the fences and bring in the best offensive tackle in free agency. This isn't a franchise known for doing that.
Q: What would you say should be the focal point in the 2023 NFL Draft?
A: The Bengals have put themselves in a position where they can take the best player available in each round. They might go tight end in the first round but even if they don't, good ones will still be available in the second round.
Q: Is there a move the Browns made this offseason that Cincinnati fans are worried about?
A: The Browns have been able to make more moves despite the huge contract they gave to Deshaun Watson and that's probably been what Bengals fans are confused about. That being said, I wouldn't say fans are worried by this signing but they weren't happy when the Browns signed Juan Thornhill. He was a popular name on wish lists.
Thanks again to Leigh for taking the time to speak Ohio football. Be sure to check out her work on Stripe Hype throughout the season.