When the offseason started the Bengals were ready to make some changes to improve the roster. Cincinnati had the money to do just about whatever they desired. At the same time, they also had quite a few players from the 2011 squad that were slated to hit the open market. Instead of throwing huge amounts of money at one or two players, the Bengals have been spending adding multiple players at a reasonable price.
While the Bengals have addressed a majority of their positions, there is still one position that could still use some help. And that's guard.
The Bengals had the opportunity to go after guys like Ben Grubbs or Carl Nicks, but instead they decided the price tag was out of their range. The Bengals went a different route and added Travelle Wharton and Jacob Bell while re-signing Dennis Roland.
But there seems to be a name missing from that list, and that would be Bobbie Williams. He's still on the free agent market and the Bengals could still use his presence on the team.
According to Geoff Hobson, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals won't rule out re-signing Williams. But at the moment, he's still rehabbing a broken ankle that he suffered during Week 14 against the Houston Texans.
Williams has been one of the most dependable, durable offensive linemen the Bengals have ever had. The 12-year veteran has spent the past eight seasons with the Bengals after spending his first four years with the Philadelphia Eagles.
During the 2004 season, his first with the Bengals, he played in all 1,038 snaps offensive snaps. He was the only player to do that for his unit during the regular season. The following season Williams was part of an offensive line that only allowed 21 sacks during the regular season. That mark set a new franchise record that was short-lived. In 2007 Williams and company allowed only 17 sacks during the regular season, beating the previous franchise record.
The easiest way to sum up the next five seasons is that he was a monster. He started all 80 regular season games for the Bengals. In other words, he was the most reliable and durable lineman during that stretch.
However, in 2011 that streak would come to an end. He missed the first four games of the regular season while serving a suspension for violating the league's policy against performance enhancing substances. He played the next nine games before having his season cut short against the Texans.
Williams has helped pave the way for running backs like Rudi Johnson and Cedric Benson to put up impressive numbers while with the Bengals. Williams has also helped protect guys like Jon Kitna, Carson Palmer, and Andy Dalton. He has always been considered an above-average run-blocker and pass-blocker. Without Williams' presence who knows what the Bengals would have accomplished over the past eight seasons.
Williams has been a fan favorite ever since he arrived in the Queen City. He has always had a positive attitude and continually gives a strong effort during each game. It's hard to imagine a Bengals front line without him. At this point the Bengals need to re-sign him. It shouldn't be a question as to whether or not they should. He has been a dedicated member to the Bengals organization for eight years and he brings the type of leadership that most teams covet, but can't seem to find.