When you look at the lineage of great Cincinnati Bengals offensive linemen, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth has to be ranked up there with the likes of Anthony Munoz and Willie Anderson as one of the team’s great big men. However, as he is currently in his 11th year and soon to be 35-years-old, the team is rightfully looking to the future.
What makes that proposition tenuous is the fact that Cincinnati’s future at both offensive tackle spots resides in top 2015 picks, Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher. Both have small sample sizes, but both also have struggled with big roles. Ogbuehi has had a season to forget in his first year as a full-time starter in 2016, though, he’s now lost that role.
The Bengals have shown long-term dedication to both players and have recently made Ogbuehi a backup left tackle behind Whitworth to finish out the year. Complicating the Bengals’ long-term plans is Whitworth’s open desire to remain with the club in 2017.
So, should the Bengals move on from a beloved player and look to the future in a partial rebuilding effort in 2017, or use the Pro Bowl tackle as a band-aid for at least one more year as the youngsters continue to get their NFL feet under them?
On this week’s Orange and Black Insider, we examined the issues surrounding the position and the tough decisions that are ahead for the Bengals. Cincinnati has to do a lot of soul-searching this offseason for an answer to this conundrum.
In exploring the issue, we also kicked around the idea of Whitworth kicking inside to guard, especially with Kevin Zeitler facing free agency. Might Fisher and Ogbuehi man the tackle spots in 2017 with Whitworth playing inside?
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