Christian Westerman

Bengals Place OL Christian Westerman On Exempt/Left Squad List

The Bengals’ offensive line is getting thinner. After losing 11th overall pick and projected starter at left tackle Jonah Williams for the season due to a shoulder injury, Cincinnati is losing another member of the unit.

The Bengals have placed guard Christian Westerman on the Exempt/Left Squad list, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Westerman had reportedly been considering retirement, and now he’s officially decided to step away. After Williams went down, the Bengals slid Cordy Glenn over from left guard to left tackle to take his place.

There was an open competition taking place to see who would replace Glenn at left guard, and Westerman was in the mix. We had heard back in July that Westerman appeared to be the early favorite to win the job, so this certainly isn’t welcome news for the Bengals.

Cincy originally drafted Westerman in the fifth round back in 2016 out of Arizona State. He played sparingly his first few years in the league, making two starts in 2017, the only two starts of his career.

Extra Points: Military Academies, Cutting, Vikings, AAF, Westerman, Bengals

One of the couple dozen recent draft picks who has yet to sign his rookie deal is Austin Cutting. Cutting, the 250th overall pick of the Vikings, is the only seventh-round pick who hasn’t signed. Cutting is a recent graduate of the Air Force Academy, which is what has been holding things up. Once President Trump took office, his administration overturned an Obama-era rule that permitted recent graduates from pursuing careers as professional athletes before fulfilling their service. Now, the Trump administration has changed its mind, per Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic.

The administration has issued a presidential memorandum that “will essentially reinstate the protocol” Obama established in 2016, per Jhabvala. The rule under Obama was overturned so quickly that it barely had time to take effect. Coaches at the various academies have long argued that it’ll help with recruiting if their athletes can go pro. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said that Cutting will “absolutely” be allowed to play for the Vikings now. It’ll be interesting to see what effect this new policy has on the programs of Navy, Army, and the Air Force moving forward.

Here’s more from around the football universe:

  • Another day, more drama surrounding the collapse of the Alliance of American Football. Since its demise, it’s become clearer and clearer that the ill-fated spring football league was doomed from the start. We’ve heard varying tales of incompetence and mismanagement, and now we have further fireworks. Charlie Ebersol, one of the league’s founders, is firing back at players who filed a class-action lawsuit against him and other founders, saying it was the players who committed fraud, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. It’s a bold strategy by Ebersol, who is arguing that players should be “barred from claiming any injuries or damages because such injuries and damages are the sole, direct and proximate result of Plaintiffs’ conduct.” We’ll keep you updated as the lawsuit progresses.
  • The Bengals were dealt a tough blow last week when it was announced Jonah Williams would likely miss the entire 2019 season due to shoulder surgery. Cincinnati was counting on the 11th overall pick to be their starting left tackle, and they’ll now have to slide Cordy Glenn over from left guard in his place. That also means they’ll have to find someone to replace Glenn at left guard. For right now Christian Westerman “appears to be option one” for the role, although there will be a camp battle for starting duties, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic hears. Westerman is a 2016 fifth-round pick who has played sparingly in his three years in the league. He’s only made two starts in his career, both of which came in 2017. It’s not an ideal situation, but Cincy’s offensive line can’t be any worse than it was last year.

North Notes: Browns, Bengals, Barr, Bears

The latest of many updates regarding the Browns‘ preference for their No. 1 pick runs indicates John Dorsey may have an issue with Baker Mayfield‘s height. While it’s uncertain if the Heisman Trophy winner’s 6-foot frame will be a deal-breaker, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports hears from a source close to the Browns the new Cleveland GM prefers size in quarterbacks (Twitter link). That and off-field baggage will work against Mayfield, who is slotted by most as a high first-round performer but someone who won’t likely be the Browns’ choice. Hue Jackson‘s on the same page about the size issueRobinson previously reported Dorsey, though, is a fan of Mayfield’s competitive streak and was zeroing in on he or USC’s Sam Darnold. ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Josh Allen going to the Browns at No. 1, and Josh Rosen is generally regarded as the readiest pro prospect. So, the Browns — who wanted Alex Smith to mentor their to-be-determined prospect — will have a complex decision to make.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions.

  • Now that the Browns missed out on another trade target, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer mentions Kirk Cousins will warrant consideration. The Browns were planning on signing or trading for a bridge quarterback while their No. 1 pick learns but now could be in the Cousins mix. However, Cleveland’s status after two historically woeful years could derail this. Cousins has said he’s going to value a winning situation, and the Browns are about the furthest thing away from being classified as such. It would seem odd a team that’s at this stage of the rebuilding process would consider Cousins rather than a rookie, but the Browns ($100MM-plus in space) have the money to enter the fray. Cabot notes the Browns will likely know if they’ll have a shot at Cousins before the tampering period begins, and if he’s not interested, they will move on to bridge-type veterans, mentioning Chase Daniel or a Josh McCown reunion as options.
  • Like everyone else in the stellar 2014 first-round class, Anthony Barr is still attached to his rookie contract. However, the Vikings outside linebacker wants to sign an extension, and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes the team is expected to try to sign Barr by the time training camp opens. “I love it here,” Barr said, via Tomasson. “Absolutely. I really love my teammates. I really love this team. I love the city. I could see myself being here for the future.” Jamie Collins‘ $12.5MM-per-year pact paces 4-3 outside ‘backers presently, but Barr could poised to (sorry) raise the bar here. No other player in this role makes more per year than Telvin Smith‘s $11.1MM pact, so it’s a near-certainty Barr’s re-up will come in above that. The Vikings extended Xavier Rhodes, Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen in 2017. A Barr agreement would be logical to follow this offseason.
  • Former Lions center Dominic Raiola played the Bears on numerous occasions. Chicago will now dip into the family for coaching help, hiring younger brother Donovan Raiola to be its assistant offensive line coach, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Donovan Raiola worked under new Bears O-line boss Harry Hiestand at Notre Dame.
  • Clint Boling took some snaps at left tackle last season, and Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes the Bengals could consider that for the future — even if he’s merely the backup tackle. Boling has been the Bengals’ left guard for six seasons. At right guard, Cincinnati liked what it saw from its young options will likely turn to either Alex Redmond, a 2016 UDFA, or Christian Westerman, a 2016 fifth-rounder, in 2018, per Dehner.

Draft Pick Signings: Bills, Bengals

The 2016 NFL draft wrapped up less than two weeks ago, and already nearly 70% of the players selected in the draft have signed their rookie contracts. We have a few more draftees to add to that list, so let’s dive in and round up the latest updates on draft pick signings…

  • No. 80 overall pick Adolphus Washington has signed his rookie contract with the Bills, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter). The Bills third-round defensive tackle out of Ohio State signed for $3.189MM, along with a $754K signing bonus. He is the
  • The Bengals have signed rookie Christian Westerman, as Paul Dehner Jr of The Enquirer tweets. Now, William Jackson and Andrew Billings stand as the only unsigned Bengals rookies. Westerman, an offensive guard out of Arizona State, was taken in the fifth round.