2012 NFL Free Agency: Bengals First Signing Is Guard Travelle Wharton, According To Report

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to follow the block of Travelle Wharton #70 during second quarter action against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)

According to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, the Bengals may have signed their first player in this free agency period. That player is guard Travelle Wharton, who has spent the last eight seasons with the Carolina Panthers.

Sounds like we have a #bengals signing -- OG Travelle Wharton come on down. He visited with Rams on Thursday and Friday 7 minutes ago via TweetDeck · Reply · Retweet · Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Note that this signing is not official and it may not go through, but if this does happen, it would mean that the Bengals do have a pulse and are looking to make the team better.

Wharton, who has started at tackle and guard, has 99 career starts on the offensive line for the Panthers. Last season, the former third-round pick, had a Pro Football Focus overall grade of -1.8 with a pass protection grade of -7.9 and a run blocking grade of 2.9. He allowed three quarterback sacks, three quarterback hits and 30 pressures. Nate Livings, by comparison, has an overall grade of -13.3, and Mike McGlynn had a grade of -9.0.

ESPN's (In$ider) scouting report gives Wharton a grade of 73 and says the following:

Wharton has been a starter at both left tackle and at guard, and he fits better inside at guard where he does not need to slide and extend the pocket quite as far. He is a decent knee bender and can keep his pad level down to leverage blocks, and will show body control and balance to react to and adjust to counter moves on the inside. He can sink his hips to bow up and stymie the bull rush and will bring his feet with him as he gets movement to finish drive blocks.

Stay tuned for more on the signing and whether or not it becomes official.

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