The Cincinnati Bengals‘ decision to sign a big-name free agent left tackle provided an upgrade to the roster, but it also put the longest-tenured member of the offensive line’s job in jeopardy.
Shorty after learning that Orlando Brown signed a four-year contract with Cincinnati, veteran lineman Jonah Williams expressed his desire to be traded, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
Williams was drafted by the Bengals in the first-round in 2019 and has been the starter at left tackle since he arrived.
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In a recent radio interview with the Bengals’ broadcasting team, offensive line coach Frank Pollack mentioned that Brown is expected to play on the left side of the offensive line.
“He’s going to be our left tackle,” Pollack said.
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The 25-year-old Williams has one year remaining on his rookie contract, which will pay him a base salary of $12.6 million in 2023.
After losing to the Super Bowl LVI to the Rams and giving up a record amount of quarterback sacks in 2021, the Bengals have heavily invested in their offensive line.
La’el Collins, Ted Karras and Alex Cappa were signed in 2022. Starting left guard Cordell Volson was also drafted last year.
If Williams ultimately decides to remain in Cincinnati, he would likely have to switch to the right side of the line if he wants to see significant playing time.
Collins, the Bengals’ current starting right tackle, is coming off a season-ending knee injury and might not be ready at the start of the 2023 season.
Williams will likely draw interest from multiple NFL teams. If he does join a new team, he will likely seek a new multi-year contract.
He was a two-time All-American at Alabama. Since being selected with the No. 11 overall pick, he has been a solid player, but he has not quite played at an elite level.
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Williams has been a durable a player, starting in 42 of a possible 50 games over the past three seasons. An injury sidelined him for the entirety of his rookie campaign.