At least one known Jonah Williams suitor has surfaced. During an offseason in which Jawaan Taylor bolted for Kansas City and Cam Robinson received a PED suspension, the Jaguars showed interest in the disgruntled Bengals tackle.
The Bengals and Jaguars discussed a Williams trade, Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (on Twitter). These discussions commenced before the draft, and Jacksonville’s draft blueprint looks to have changed its outlook at the tackle position. The Jags made a concerted effort to use their late-first-round real estate to come away with Oklahoma prospect Anton Harrison. The team doing that (and picking up draft capital via trade-down maneuvers with the Giants and Bills) probably removed a Williams buyer from the equation.
This would have been an interesting fit for Williams, whose trade request came just after big-ticket Bengals free agent signing Orlando Brown Jr. displaced him at left tackle. While the NFL hit Robinson with the PED ban — the length of which remains unknown — and the six-year left tackle starter is coming off a late-season meniscus tear, he will presumably be back at some point before midseason. These circumstances would have left Williams as a potential right-side solution for the Jags, who have since obtained Harrison to man that post.
As it stands now, Williams is on track to stay with the Bengals. The team has long been prepared to move its three-year blindside starter to right tackle, and Conway adds the former first-round pick is expected to report to the Bengals’ minicamp and begin his reluctant run on the right side.
Williams resides in a tough spot, being effectively demoted ahead of his contract year. The Bengals’ top O-lineman during their Super Bowl LVI charge, Williams suffered a dislocated kneecap that kept him off the field for the 2022 Bengals’ final two games. The Chiefs pounced on a Bengals line missing Williams, La’el Collins and Alex Cappa. With the Chiefs’ former left tackle in the fold, Williams, Collins and postseason left tackle sub Jackson Carman are ticketed for an unusual position battle.
Other teams will undoubtedly be monitoring Williams and Collins’ situations, considering the loser of this competition may become available via trade. Collins signed a three-year, $21MM contract in 2022, but the Bengals were not thrilled with the longtime Cowboy’s Cincy debut. Williams is going into his fifth-year option season, at $12.6MM, and stands to be one of the 2024 free agent market’s better O-linemen available. Two seasons remains on Carman’s rookie deal.