Andrew Whitworth has signed a one-year extension with the Bengals worth $9 million, according to ESPN NFL reporter Field Yates. Richard Skinner with Local12 writes that the extension includes a $2 million signing bonus, a $200,000 workout bonus and a "per-game" roster bonus of $62,500. Whitworth was playing on the final year of his existing contract in 2015. Since being selected during the second round of the 2006 NFL draft, Whitworth has started 134 games with the Bengals and played 138 games total; he was a substitute in four games during his rookie season. Despite being named to only one Pro Bowl, Whitworth is usually part of a topic that examines snubs to the NFL's All Star game.
According to Pro Football Focus, Whitworth hasn't allowed a quarterback sack during the regular season since Week 10 of 2013 and only allowed 10 pressures last year and hasn't allowed one through two games in 2015. Pro Football Focus consistently rates Whitworth as one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL.
After only two seasons in the NFL, Cincinnati signed Whitworth to a new six-year deal prior to the 2008 season. Cincinnati added two years on that deal prior to the 2011 season, extending him through 2015. The reported extension signed on Saturday will keep Whitworth in stripes through the 2016 season.
|2008 (New)||6||$24.635 million|
|2011 (Two-year Ext.)||2||$19.525 million|
|2015 (One-year Ext.||1||$9 million|
Whitworth arrived at camp this year, showing the results of improved offseason nutrition and a workout regiment. At various stages in his career, the 33-year old has hovered around 330 pounds, but had reached 341 pounds in April. Now he's barely breaching 300 pounds. His stated goal was to play another four seasons, at least.
"The number that kept coming up is 12 years," Whitworth said in August. "Some might have squeezed to 13, but most of them were 12. I still have three to four years left. NFL football is just different now. The way we practice, our schedule, I can go longer. The one denominator I found is that they were probably a little heavy late in their careers and I don’t think that helped them play longer….Carrying that much weight, at some point you’re going to break down."
Cincinnati drafted offensive tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher during the opening rounds of the 2015 NFL draft, setting off an unfortunate series of events that led to Whitworth expressing frustration that Cincinnati failed to approach him about an extension.
"I want to be above and beyond and do more than the average guy in this locker room. But it's hard to do that when the feeling's not reciprocated. Really, it's just a one-way street," Whitworth said following the 2015 NFL draft. "[When the team says] we'd like you to be the leader of our football team, but we'd also like the best situation possible for us to talk to you when we want to, that's a one-way street and not really top-of-the-line in customer service. But it is what it is. Hopefully one day that conversation will be had and I'll be here."
Several within the media took offense and even fans became divisive; some were dismayed that he aired dirty laundry while others vehemently defended him. Despite an unfortunate phone incident exacerbating the issue, made funny by those taking that situation far too seriously considering the explanation, these frustrations and issues quickly dissolved. Many of us chalked up his public frustration not unlike writing an email, waiting an hour and deciding to delete once emotions have settled down.
"Monday was a tough day for me and probably handled it in ways I shouldn't have, to be honest," Whitworth said by the end of that week. "To me, it's about always trying to make decisions that reflect my leadership and who I am. Because I hold myself to a high standard, I wish I maybe handled it a little better. But the real truth is, at the end of the day, I love it here, I love leading these guys and our family has always been committed to that and always will be."
As a result of Saturday's reported agreement, the Bengals have added stability to the left side of their offensive line with Whitworth and Clint Boling, who signed a five-year deal in March, secured for next season. On the right side, Kevin Zeitler had his fifth year extension picked up this offseason, keeping him in Cincinnati through 2016 and Andre Smith, will enter free agency next season if no extension is reached before then. Smith isn't expected to return in 2016.
As for Whitworth, seeing himself in another uniform is difficult to envision. During his peaceful conclusion to his unexpected outburst last May, the veteran left tackle said that "I'll never put on another uniform other than a Cincinnati Bengals uniform. The bottom line is I love this. I won't play anywhere else. (The Brown family) has always been great and loyal to me and my family. We will continue to be that way to them."