Laken Tomlinson
Photo: Niner Noise

The Cincinnati Bengals are showing interest in several of the top interior offensive linemen, which isn’t surprising. The latest speculation comes from ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler’s claim that the Bengals are among the several clubs interested in San Francisco 49ers offensive guard Laken Tomlinson.

Tomlinson, a former first-round choice, has had a strong season with the 49ers. Prior to the 2021 season, he was acquired via trading choices with the Detroit Lions. He had a dismal career, yet he played over 1,000 snaps with only two sacks and a favorable Pro Football Focus grade.

Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and New York Jets are among the other teams interested. Expect a long list of suitors for every serviceable offensive lineman. Almost every team is trying to enhance their offensive line in some fashion.

The Jaguars and Jets are two teams on this list that are extremely likely to outbid Cincinnati outright. The Bengals have an advantage over every other team here in that they have the opportunity to play for a contender, which is still strange to say.

According to the source, 49ers guard Laken Tomlinson is “emerging” as a top player at his position and might start a bidding war. Tomlinson has piqued the Bengals’ curiosity. Panthers, Vikings, Steelers, Jets, and Seahawks have all been listed as possible suitors.

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According to Pro Football Focus, Tomlinson started all 17 games for San Francisco last season and only allowed two sacks in 1,094 offensive snaps. Last month, the former first-round pick turned 30 years old.

Not only that, but everyone watching the Super Bowl could tell that the offensive line seemed to be the only thing holding them back right now. This isn’t a bet on a club that has already won a Super Bowl. That club will be together for at least a couple more seasons. This is an opportunity to work for a competitor for a number of years. Nobody else on the list even comes close to delivering it.

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Tomlinson would come in right away and fight with players like Jackson Carman and Hakeem Adeniji. He’ll almost certainly win that battle, but we can’t rule out Carman taking a step forward in Year 2.

In any case, it’s encouraging to see them bring in meaningful competition along the offensive line. It is instead of relying on young guys to make major progress.

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