Bengals lose guard Nate Livings to Dallas

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
2:24
PM ET
The Bengals have visits set up with multiple defensive linemen, cornerbacks and running backs.

So, what are they doing about guard, their weakest position?

Livings
There has to be a sense of urgency to improve this area after Nate Livings, a two-year starter at left guard, signed a five-year, $19 million deal with the Dallas Cowboys (which includes $6.2 million guaranteed). This is definitely a case where the Cowboys overspent for Livings. According to Pro Football Focus, Livings ranked 56th among guards last season and was tied for 53th in 2010.

I'm just a little confused about the Bengals' plan here. By all reports, they weren't involved in pursuing the top three guards in free agency (Carl Nicks, Ben Grubbs and Evan Mathis). And now the fallback options are gone with Livings signing with the Cowboys and Mike McGlynn joining the Colts.

The only known visit by a free-agent guard to Cincinnati has been Jacob Bell, who started 100 games in Tennessee and St. Louis. The team's official website suggest that guard Otis Hudson, a fifth-round pick in 2010, is still in Cincinnati's plans.

I understand the Bengals' plan of wanting to build through the draft and not go crazy in free agency because that's the model that most championship teams follow. It's just a little confusing to see the Bengals pursue a player like Bell and pass on sure-fire upgrades like Grubbs when they have the most salary-cap space in the NFL.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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