Bengals LT Jonah Williams Drawing Interest From Several Teams

The Bengals’ Orlando Brown Jr. signing led to their three-year left tackle starter — Jonah Williamsrequesting a trade. The team appears open to accommodating the former first-round pick.

Several teams have shown interest in Williams, Ian Rapoport of tweets, and the Bengals have engaged in trade talks. Williams, 25, is heading into his fifth-year option season and is tied to a $12.6MM base salary. That figure is fully guaranteed.

Cincinnati’s initial plan was to slide Williams to right tackle, a position he has not played since his freshman season at Alabama (2016). Just as Brown did not want to move to the right side, where some teams viewed him as a better fit, Williams is resisting such a change. Also complicating matters for the reigning AFC north champions: La’el Collins is coming off ACL and MCL tears. With those injuries occurring on Christmas Eve, the former Cowboy is not a lock to start the season on time.

A team that trades for Williams would likely need to view him as an extension candidate, but the 2019 first-rounder is coming off a season in which he suffered multiple kneecap issues. The second of which kept him out of the Bengals’ playoff games in Buffalo and Kansas City. The Chiefs withstood Patrick Mahomes‘ limitations in the latter matchup by preying on a backup-laden Bengals front. This led to the Brown signing, and it could lead the team’s longest-tenured O-line starter out of town.

The Patriots are obviously not averse to acquiring starters via trade, and a low-level Riley Reiff signing has headlined their tackle moves. The Pats were believed to be searching for a right tackle in free agency; Reiff would technically fit the bill, but the ex-Bengal is going into his age-34 season. Trent Brown, whom the Pats initially acquired ahead of the final year of his rookie contract, played 17 games last season but has been unreliable since signing a big-ticket Raiders deal back in 2019. Brown, who is going into the second season of a two-year contract, is penciled in at left tackle.

The Jets have Duane Brown under contract, but he is coming off surgery and going into an age-38 season. The team moved Mekhi Becton to right tackle; the former first-rounder’s position has taken a backseat over the past two years, which have involved major knee injuries that have limited him to one game. Washington has Charles Leno signed through 2024 but was linked to left tackle options ahead of free agency, while Tampa Bay released eight-year left tackle starter Donovan Smith. The soon-to-be 30-year-old blocker also serves as an option for the left tackle-seeking teams around the league, as do college prospects. ESPN’s Scouts Inc. rates five tackles — Peter Skoronski, Paris Johnson, Broderick Jones, Darnell Wright and Anton Harrison — as first-round-caliber players.

While Williams has made 42 starts and played a key role for a Super Bowl-qualifying team, his contract and this year’s rookie class stands to affect his trade value. Collins’ injury will make it unlikely the Bengals cave to Williams’ trade request without a viable return price, so it should not be considered a lock they move the now-disgruntled tackle. But Wednesday morning’s report indicates the team is not shutting down overtures.

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