The Cincinnati Bengals made it clear for the last three months (and the last 20 years) that the team does not value guards the way it values offensive tackles.
On Thursday, the team proved it as we watched Kevin Zeitler officially walk away from Cincinnati and sign a massive new contract with the Browns.
Unfortunately, the Bengals will also be moving forward without Andrew Whitworth. The team was said to be having serious talks with Whitworth’s agent and reports vary saying the team offered him between $10-11 million per season to remain with the Bengals after 11 seasons with the team. The Bengals put up a fight, but, Whitworth got away.
The same cannot be said of how the team operated with Zeitler. We now know the Bengals did not even attempt to bring back Zeitler on a second contract.
Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson shared this bit of unfortunate news regarding Zeitler’s departure:
Zeitler is at the top of his game. He was rated the best guard on the market after not missing a snap in 2017. That translated to $12 million per year, but the Bengals don't believe guards win enough games on their own to warrant top of the market money. The Bengals didn't offer a contract but told his agent, "If you don't get what you want, come back."
So, the Bengals, according to the team’s own website, did not even try to bring back Zeitler, or extend an offer his way. A great young guard in the prime of his career, who knows, understands and plays well in the Bengals’ system, was told to go find a new deal elsewhere. He had zero issue doing that, as reportedly “every team” in the league was interested in him... Other than the Bengals. This is how the team acted toward a former first round pick.
Chew on that.