Andre Smith appears to be the guy that the Cincinnati Bengals just can’t get rid of. Having originally selected the offensive tackle in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, he has spent the vast majority of his career in Cincinnati, with the long exception being a one-year stint with the Minnesota Vikings before he was released after dealing with injuries, and then for much of last season.
Smith signed with the Arizona Cardinals last year and started eight games, but missed time once again due to injuries and was released in November. The Bengals signed him a few days later. They did not re-sign him after the season was over, but just as training camp was set to kick off, they brought him back for a fourth stint.
The move comes after the team’s first-round pick, Jonah Williams, of course suffered what will likely end up a season-ending injury. Williams was projected to start at left tackle, moving Cordy Glenn to left guard, with Bobby Hart at right tackle.
Now with Williams out—officially on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List for now—Glenn was moved back to left tackle, where he has spent his entire NFL career. Smith appears to have been re-signed for depth purposes, at least for now, rather than to compete at right tackle with Hart.
Prior to his signing, Cincinnati didn’t really have any tackle depth that they ought to be comfortable with. The team’s offensive line coach even told reporters before then, “we need tackles for depth and tackles to compete so that will be addressed I’m sure at some point”.
It was, and in the form of a retread. But on the bright side, Smith is obviously somebody that the organization knows well, in fact, for over a decade now. The 32-year-old has played in 110 games in his career, starting 93, the vast majority of them for the Bengals.
In other lineman news, with Clint Boling retiring earlier this year due to injury, Cincinnati signed yet another former New York Giants offensive lineman (Hart being the other) in John Jerry. He opened up training camp running with the first team at left guard, over Christian Westerman.
Williams is the second offensive lineman the team has drafted with their first-round pick over the past two seasons, last year adding Billy Price at center. Price struggled as a rookie, both with injuries and with his play, so they are hoping that he takes a significant step forward in year two.
The Bengals have had a string of difficulties in keeping their rookie first-rounders healthy. with Williams likely to miss all of 2019, he joined Price, who missed six games. In 2017, John Ross, the wide receiver, missed all but one game. 2016 cornerback William Jackson III missed the entirety of his rookie season. 2015 tackle Cedric Ogbhuehi was recovering from a torn ACL when he was drafted and was not activated from the Non-Football Injury List until December, active for only five games while making no starts.