If the Cincinnati Bengals allow Andrew Whitworth to hit free agency, many teams will be interested in his services.
Some of the many possible suitors for Whitworth could be the New York Giants and Denver Broncos. NFL beat writer Benjamin Allbright believes the Broncos will be among the teams pushing Whitworth to move on from the Bengals, should he hit free agency on March 9.
Giants beat writer Dan Duggan of NJ.com also has Giants fans believing Whitworth could field offers from New York. Duggan says Whitworth should be more interested in signing with the Giants than remaining with the Bengals due to the Giants’ two Super Bowl wins under Eli Manning.
Whitworth's emphasis on chasing a Super Bowl ring could give the Giants an advantage over the Bengals. The Bengals went 6-9-1 and missed the playoffs last season. Cincinnati hasn't won a playoff game during Whitworth's career, while the Giants offer the opportunity to play for a team that went 11-5 last season and has two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning at quarterback.
Whitworth surely wants to win games and get a Super Bowl in one of his few remaining years in the NFL, but would he really leave for the Bengals because of the Giants’ two Super Bowl wins under Manning, the most recent of which was the Giants’ last playoff win, back in the 2012 season? The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game during Whitworth’s 11 year career in Cincinnati, but are the Giants really closer to being a Super Bowl team than the Bengals?
The Broncos are now coached by former Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph, who is surely familiar with Whitworth. The Broncos no longer have a Super Bowl winning quarterback, but, they did win the Lombardi Trophy just last year. I’d say the Broncos could make a solid argument for being closer to another Super Bowl win than the Bengals and Giants are to winning a Super Bowl. But, with a new head coach, it’s anyone’s guess as to how the Broncos will perform in 2017. Just as it’s anyone’s guess how the 2017 Bengals will be after five playoff seasons and then a poor 6-9-1 2016 campaign.
"At this point in my career, it's about the challenge, it's about the excitement of going to try to win that Super Bowl," Whitworth said this week on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "That's what I want to do, so I want to make sure wherever it is I am - hopefully Cincinnati - that team is prepared to go try and fight for that trophy."
Whitworth has made it clear he’d like to stay in Cincinnati, as long as the team makes it worth his while. Now, we will need to wait and see as free agency nears and Whitworth’s agent works with the Bengals to get a deal done.
If the Bengals don’t re-sign Whitworth before the start of free agency, the veteran left tackle will surely gain a lot of attention and sizable contract offers on the open market.