Based on what we know right now, the Cincinnati Bengals would eventually like to promote a guard tandem of Otis Hudson at right guard and recently drafted Clint Boling on the left. Evan Mathis, a serviceable guard that's graded higher than Nate Livings, is a free agent, as is Livings. There's a chance that the Bengals could promote Boling as the starting left guard, but until they know more through training camp and the preseason, we're largely expecting Livings to keep his starting left guard position, mostly based on recent praise from offensive line coach Paul Alexander. Mathis isn't likely to return, especially after tweeting comments recently that would suggest he didn't just burn a bridge, rather fixed 200 pounds of C4 and ignited it with the tears of children.
Bobbie Williams, the team's starting right guard, will turn 35 this season as he enters his 12th season in the league -- 8th with the Bengals. This will be his final season under contract, with the Bengals expecting to groom Hudson as the eventual replacement. At this point who knows how well that project is going, but we know that Williams is one of the league's best offensive guards.
According to Pro Football Focus' grading system, Williams graded out as the fourth-best offensive guard during a three-year period from 2008-2010.
He may be coming to the end of his career and showing signs of slowing down, but Williams has constantly been one of the league’s most underappreciated players. Worthy of a perennial Pro Bowl slot, Williams has ranked in the top three of right guards each year of our existence. First signs this year of his run blocking dropping off, but he’s got the savvy to prevent pressure getting to his quarterback.
Whether or not the Bengals decide to extend Williams beyond 2011 largely depends on the development of the younger guards; and we have no idea how well they're developing, or in Boling's case, how well he'll adjust to the NFL. And even if they are ready, it wouldn't be surprising if the Bengals offered Williams another two-year contract at the conclusion of the 2011 season, if for anything, insurance of having one of the league's better offensive guards in case the younger players need more time to develop.