When the Bengals signed former Panthers guard Travelle Wharton during last year's first week of free agency, he was immediately penciled in as the team's starting left guard. After the underwhelming performance of Nate Livings, Wharton was hailed as a savior, and expectations were high. Unfortunately for Wharton, his starting status was brought to an abrupt end during the third play of the Bengals' first preseason game, when he suffered an ACL injury that forced him to miss the rest of the season. In the meantime, second-year guard Clint Boling took over the position and put together a solid season as the Bengals' starting left guard, leaving Wharton on the outside looking in.
Coming off a knee injury and sporting a weighty contract for a backup player, Wharton's days in stripes might be numbered. Then again, the one thing that the Bengals value above all else in an offensive lineman is versatility, and Wharton certainly has that. While with the Panthers, Wharton manned both the left tackle spot and the left guard spot at different points in his career, and murmurs are beginning to surface about a potential shift back to the tackle position.
Specifically the right tackle position.
According to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, the continued absence of right tackle Andre Smith has many folks looking for alternative solutions. At the team's first organized workouts on Monday morning, Wharton admitted that he might be on the short list to replace him, but nothing imminent was on the horizon.
With Andre Smith unsigned, he was asked if he could play right tackle: "It’s football. Everything has it’s own. It’s going to take practice but I’ve never played it. We’ll see."
As of right now, it is highly unlikely that Wharton is pegged as a legitimate option to fill in the void at right tackle. Based on his comments, Wharton seems open to the idea, but that is more a sign of him being a team player and saying the right things than any actual signal of a position shift.
Until this story develops any further, it's a safe bet that the Bengals will turn to the draft or even possibly Anthony Collins before they plug in Wharton at the right tackle spot.