Riley Reiff

Latest On Bears’ Offensive Line

Previously a possibility at left tackle, Riley Reiff now looks to be settling in on the right side. The Bears moved the longtime NFC North left tackle-turned-Bengals RT off the blind side recently, with Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com noting rookie Braxton Jones has taken most of the left-side reps over the past several days.

Reiff, 33, played right tackle with the Bengals last season, prior to going down with a mid-December ankle injury that shelved him for the team’s unlikely Super Bowl run, and moved to the right side in 2016 to accommodate Lions first-round pick Taylor Decker. In every other season, Reiff has primarily been a left tackle.

Jones and Reiff starting would leave Chicago with two new tackle starters. The team’s top 2021 left tackle, Jason Peters, remains a free agent. The player the previous regime hoped would commandeer that post, Teven Jenkins, has not done so. The 2021 second-round pick has battled injuries throughout his career. While Jenkins has returned to practice, he has lined up with the Bears’ second- and third-string lines since doing so, Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic tweets.

As Jones began to show starter readiness during the Bears’ offseason program, Jenkins has already popped up in trade rumors. The Bears chose Jones 168th overall out of Division I-FCS Southern Utah. This would obviously be a big jump from his 2021 gig.

Larry Borom worked as Chicago’s primary right tackle last year, but the 2021 fifth-round pick is playing behind Reiff presently. Pro Football Focus graded Borom outside its top 60 tackles last season. Although O-line development usually takes some time, the Bears’ new coaching staff may be prepared to let the Mizzou product learn from the bench behind Reiff (139 career starts). Borom has been working at both tackle spots, suggesting a potential path as the team’s swing backup.

The team exited the 2020 season with one of the league’s most stable tackle tandems, with Charles Leno and Bobby Massie having started together for five years. The Bears, however, released Leno and did not re-sign Massie during the 2021 offseason. Leno is now with Washington, tied to an extension signed earlier this year, while Chicago searches for long-term replacements. The Bears are not expected to contend this season, but Justin Fields preparing for his first full campaign as the team’s starting quarterback certainly makes tackle performance important through a longer-term lens.

Additionally, late-July pickup Michael Schofield is ticketed to be the team’s top right guard, Cronin adds. Mainstay Cody Whitehair remains the Bears’ other guard starter, while ex-Packer Lucas Patrick is poised to be the Bears’ new center. A former Super Bowl starter at right tackle with the Broncos, Schofield has been a serviceable guard in the years since. The Chargers used him as a guard starter in 49 games over the past five years.

NFC North Notes: Bears, OL, Vikings, Barrett

Mentioned in trade rumors to start the week, Teven Jenkins has not practiced with the Bears since Day 1 of training camp. Due to the unknown ailment he is currently battling and last year’s back injury, Jenkins has participated in just one training camp practice since being chosen in the 2021 second round. He does not look to be factoring into Chicago’s first-string tackle mix. Recently signed veteran Riley Reiff does, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune expects the 11th-year blocker to be the team’s left tackle starter. Reiff spent most of his career as an NFC North left tackle but played on the right side for the Bengals last season. Larry Borom, Chicago’s primary right tackle during his 2021 rookie season, should be considered the favorite to stay in that role, Biggs adds. The Bears ditched their five-year tackle setup last summer, cutting Bobby Massie before the ’21 draft and releasing Charles Leno after selecting Jenkins. Leno has since signed a three-year, $37.5MM extension with the Commanders.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • Irv Smith Jr. worked his way back from the knee injury that wiped out his 2021 season, but the third-year Vikings tight end has run into more trouble. Smith underwent thumb surgery, Kevin O’Connell said. While the first-year Minnesota HC added Smith should be back by Week 1, he will miss the preseason. Having let Tyler Conklin hit the market and defect the Jets, the Vikings are counting on Smith to be their starter this season.
  • Jesse Davis has worked as the Vikings’ first-string right guard to start training camp, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. The Vikings used fellow free agent signing Chris Reed as the primary first-stringer here during a recent Davis day off. Minnesota is also incorporating second-round pick Ed Ingram into this competition, per O’Connell. Davis, who shuttled between guard and tackle with the Dolphins for years, signed for one year and $3MM. Reed, a recent Colts backup, signed a two-year, $4.5MM pact. Reed has also worked at center in his initial months with the Vikes.
  • The Packers promoted Jon-Eric Sullivan recently. The veteran executive is now serving as the team’s VP of of player personnel. A Packers staffer since 2004, Sullivan has worked his way up from the regional scouting ranks. When Brian Gutekunst was hired as GM in 2018, Sullivan became the team’s co-player personnel director alongside John Wojciechowski. Green Bay also promoted Chris Gaines and Sean Linton to college scouts.
  • J.T. Barrett is breaking into the coaching ranks. The former Ohio State quarterback is now on the Lions‘ staff as an offensive assistant. Barrett, 27, caught on with the Saints, Seahawks and Steelers as an NFLer but never saw regular-season time. He also spent time with the CFL’s Edmonton Elks.

Contract Details: Godchaux, Reiff, Alexander

Some recent deals and extensions have been signed around the NFL. We’ve provided some updates on those contracts below:

  • Davon Godchaux, DT (Patriots): Two-year, $20.8MM extension, including $17.85MM guaranteed. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss (on Twitter), Godchaux got a $10.5MM signing bonus, and he’ll have a base salary worth $1.5MM in 2022. The extension reduced the defensive lineman’s cap hit from $10.25MM to $8.75MM.
  • Riley Reiff, OT (Bears): One-year deal worth a maximum amount of $12.5MM ($10MM likely to be earned). Per ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), the Bears structured Reiff’s contract in such a way that it will count for just $3MM against the cap next season. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune provides more details on Twitter, noting that the lineman will earn a $3MM base salary, and he’ll earn another $4.5MM if he’s on the field for 10% of his team’s offense snaps. There are also incentives tied to offensive categories and a playoff appearance.
  • Kwon Alexander, LB (Jets): One-year deal. Contract is worth $1.12MM with a $152K signing bonus, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic (on Twitter). His cap hit will be around that $1.12MM mark for the 2022 campaign.

Bears To Sign OT Riley Reiff

The remodelling of Chicago’s offensive line continues. The Bears are signing veteran tackle Riley Reiff, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). 

The one-year pact carries a maximum value of $12.5MM, with $10MM of that total considered likely to be earned, Schefter adds. This marks the second straight offseason in which he joins a new team on a one-year free agent deal, albeit he is doing so far later this year than last. Reiff previously worked out with the Jets, who made an offer, but no deal ever came to fruition.

The 33-year-old joined the Bengals last year, on a contract which was smaller than the one he is signing now. He started all 12 games he appeared in, before being sidelined with an injury in December. He earned a PFF grade of 67.3, continuing his career trend of solid, yet unspectacular, play.

Another notable aspect of Reiff’s play last season, of course, was the fact that he played right tackle, after manning the blindside during his tenure in Minnesota. He didn’t live up to the expectations associated with the five-year, $58.75MM contract he signed to join the Vikings, but will provide starting-caliber play for the Bears’ new-look offensive front.

Chicago signed fellow veteran blocker Michael Schofield yesterday. It remains to be seen where he and Reiff will line up, but their additions should help protect Justin Fields better in his second season.

Riley Reiff, Kwon Alexander Remain On Jets’ Radar

With training camps looming, several big names remain free agents. Two paid visits to the Jets earlier this offseason. While neither Riley Reiff nor Kwon Alexander signed with the team after their respective meetings, both have the option to join ahead of camp.

The Jets made offers to Alexander and Reiff, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, who notes both still have the option to accept and sign on with the rebuilding team (subscription required). The Jets have set their prices here, however, with Hughes adding that — as was the case with the team’s Larry Ogunjobi interest — GM Joe Douglas is not prepared to deviate from his initial offers to either player.

It is understandable, at this point in the offseason, Douglas will not follow through with a perceived overpay for players not expected to be starters. The Jets are uncertain which positions their starting tackles will play, but George Fant and Mekhi Becton are in line to be the team’s first-stringers. Ditto for C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams as three-down linebackers. With neither Reiff nor Alexander having been connected to other teams this offseason, they may need to revisit the Jets’ offers at some point.

That said, the Jets lost out on a few marquee wide receivers this year after showing interest and/or making major offers. Tyreek Hill chose the Dolphins, while Amari Cooper went to the Browns for the cost of two Day 3 picks. The 49ers may not have been ready to trade Deebo Samuel during the draft, but the Jets’ proposal involving the No. 10 overall pick included the 49ers’ second-round choice coming back. Granted those were higher-stakes negotiations than those involving late-offseason UFAs, but Hughes adds that if offers are equal, players should be considered unlikely to commit to the Jets over a team with legitimate playoff aspirations.

Reiff, 33, makes sense for a few teams as a potential starter option, having worked as a first-stringer for almost all of his 10-year career. He would represent Becton insurance in New York. Alexander, 27, played for Saleh for parts of two seasons (2019-20) before a midseason trade to the Saints. But he did not pan out in San Francisco. Alexander’s 2019 49ers contract may well have had an impact on the Jets’ previous regime needing to pay Mosley a then-record (for off-ball linebackers) $17MM per year. Alexander started eight games for the Saints last season.

OT Riley Reiff To Visit Jets

The offensive tackle position has been an interesting area of focus for the Jets this offseason. The starters are believed to be in place, but veteran depth could soon be on the way as well. 

The team is hosting Riley Reiff today, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). The 33-year-old is coming off a one-year stint with the Bengals. He started the first 12 games of the season, but landed on IR in December. That kept him out of the remainder of the regular season, as well as the team’s run to the Super Bowl.

Reiff was rated similarly to recent years by PFF in 2021, with an overall grade of 67.3. While that continued his career arc of solid, but never Pro Bowl-caliber play, the team found a replacement in free agency by signing La’el Collins. That left the Iowa product on the move for the third time in his career.

A first round pick of the Lions in 2012, Reiff took over as a full-time starter one season later. His play led to a five-year, $58.75MM deal with the Vikings in 2017. While he started all 58 contests he played in with Minnesota, he never lived up to the expectations which came with such a lucrative deal. After taking a pay cut at the start of the 2020 campaign, Reiff was released last March.

That gave him the chance to build back some value during his time in Cincinnati, though he obviously wasn’t among the most sought-after players during the initial waves of free agency. If he were to sign with the Jets, he would provide experienced depth after the departure of Morgan Moses. The team has made it clear Mekhi Becton and George Fant will start, but it remains to be seen on which side of the unit they will be deployed. Reiff would represent a more experienced alternative to Conor McDermott or Greg Senat, who are currently the team’s top backups.

Bengals Place Riley Reiff On IR

The Bengals have placed Riley Reiff on the injured reserve list, per a club announcement. In a related move, they’ve also placed cornerback Chidobe Awuzie on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

Reiff, who just turned 33, has started in all 12 of his games for the Bengals this season. While he’s never made a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team, he’s been a solid protector for the Bengals, just as he has been throughout his career. He didn’t live up to his five-year, $58.75MM contract with the Vikings, but the Bengals were happy to pick him up this past spring. As of this writing, Pro Football Focus has him ranked as the 50th best tackle in the NFL out of 82 qualified players.

For now, Jonah Williams (PFF’s No. 22 ranked OT) will play with Isaiah Prince on the opposite side. The nature of the injury is not yet clear, but Reiff could potentially return after three weeks on the sidelines.

With a record of 7-6, the Bengals still have a 30% chance of making the playoffs and an 18% chance of winning the AFC North, per Five Thirty Eight. They’ll look to increase those odds this week — sans Reiff — with a win over the Broncos.

Contract Details: Trubisky, Andrews, Carson, Jones, Reiff, Joyner

Let’s catch up on the latest contract details from around the league:

  • QB Mitchell TrubiskyBills: One-year, $2MM base salary with $1.5MM guaranteed, $500K signing bonus, and $2MM available in incentives. Via Field Yates of ESPN on Twitter.
  • C David Andrews, Patriots: Four-years, $19 MM, with $6.5MM fully guaranteed. More money available in play-time incentives. Via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network on Twitter.
  • RB Chris CarsonSeahawks: Two-years, $10.425MM, $4.5MM signing bonus and $1MM guaranteed salary for 2021. $4.5MM non-guaranteed 2022 salary and $450K in per-game roster bonuses in ‘22. Up to $1.4MM in incentives in both years. Via Dan Graziano of ESPN on Twitter.
  • RB Aaron JonesPackers: Four-years, $48MM. The $13MM signing bonus is the only fully guaranteed money in the contract. A $3.5MM roster bonus is due on the first day of next league year. For 2023, a $7MM roster bonus is due on the third day of the league year. You can read the full breakdown of each year of the contract via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
  • OL Riley ReiffBengals: One-year, $7.5MM. $5.5MM guaranteed. We hadn’t known the terms of this contract yet, and $7.5MM is a pretty decent price for the Bengals for a solid starting tackle. Via Yates on Twitter.
  • S Lamarcus JoynerJets: One-year, up to $4.5MM. $2.5MM is guaranteed, with a $1MM signing bonus and $1.5MM base salary. Up to $500K in per game active roster bonuses and $1.5MM in playing time and interception incentives. Via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.

Bengals To Sign Riley Reiff

The Bengals have agreed to sign former Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff, as Jay Morrison of The Athletic tweets. Terms of the deal are not yet known. 

[RELATED: Bengals Sign DL Larry Ogunjobi]

Reiff has never made a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team, but he’s been a solid starter for much of his career. The move to Cincinnati could force a change of positions — Jonah Williams is set to start at left tackle, so Reiff could wind up on the opposite side. He could also be kicked to the interior, which was rumored to be the plan at various times in Minnesota.

The Bengals started free agency with a defensive spending spree, but they’re also looking to fortify the front five. Reiff may help to keep Joe Burrow upright and healthy after his devastating ACL/MCL injury in 2020. There’s still more work to be done in that area — fortunately, the Bengals have plenty of draft capital to bolster the OL.

Riley Reiff To Visit Bengals

The Bengals entered free agency with glaring holes along the offensive line, but they spent the past couple of days bolstering their defense. They may now be shifting gears, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that former Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff will take a visit with Cincinnati (Twitter link).

Reiff, who was released by Minnesota last week, has never made a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team, but he has been a mostly solid starter since he entered the league as a first-round pick of the Lions in 2012. There was some chatter in recent seasons that he could be shifted inside to guard, but that never materialized.

The Bengals, though, have Jonah Williams penciled in at LT. So if Reiff signs with Cincinnati, he could end up at right tackle or, theoretically, at one of the guard positions.

We heard back in January that the Bengals could spend big on the O-line this offseason, which would be a major departure from their standard operating procedure. But it makes sense, as the club needs to protect quarterback Joe Burrow at all costs, a point that was driven home in brutal fashion when Burrow suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Week 11 of the 2020 season. Reiff might not be a world beater, but he is a major upgrade over what the Bengals trotted out last year, and if the club can sign him and acquire another quality blocker or two in the draft and/or free agency, Burrow will surely be a happy man.

The young signal-caller would also be delighted if the team adds another top-flight receiver to his cadre of weapons. The Bengals have an offer out to WR Kenny Golladay, who, along with Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, would create a rather fearsome trio of pass catchers..