With the Bengals having added Orlando Brown Jr. this offseason to operate on the blindside, plenty of questions have been raised regarding the future of Jonah Williams. The team’s now-former left tackle is in attendance at mandatory minicamp, and he spoke about his approach to the 2023 season and his recovery from knee surgery.
Williams requested a trade upon Brown’s arrival, something which will relegate the former first-rounder to competing for the starting right tackle spot. He is due $12.6MM this season on the fifth-year option, making the 2023 campaign a crucial one as he approaches free agency for the first time in his career. Williams was not present for Cincinnati’s voluntary OTAs, but he has arrived for the three-day mandatory minicamp.
“I’ll be happy to be a contributor on a team where I have so many great teammates,” the Alabama product said, via Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. “l love everyone in the room, love the coaches, love the fans. I’m stoked.”
Those remarks could represent a withdrawal of Williams’ trade request, something which failed to yield much in the way of tangible conversations for the Bengals on the subject of a potential swap. The Jaguars are the only known team which discussed a potential trade for the 25-year-old. With his future set to remain in Cincinnati, Williams is turning his attention to his health ahead of the 2023 season.
A dislocated kneecap cost him much of the team’s playoff run last season, prompting surgery and leading to questions about his ability to return to full health and at least match his performances of years past. Williams is confident that he will be back on the field in time for training camp next month, though, which will give him the opportunity to challenge for the RT spot with the likes of La’el Collins (when healthy), Jackson Carman, Cody Ford and Hakeem Adeniji. That endeavor is something he is approaching with confidence.
“I’m incorporating my rehab into football drills working out of the right tackle stance,” Williams added. “[The biggest adjustment] is re-learning everything for the other side of your body. Opposite stance… It’s nothing that reps and practice won’t get me used to… There’s a lot of technique to kind of unlearn and switch to the other side. It’s my job. I love it… I’m going to crush it.”