It’s official. Andrew Whitworth is leaving the Cincinnati Bengals to join the Los Angeles Rams and Bengals fans are devastated...disappointed...angry...going out of their minds.
The news came as quite a shock as it was expected that the Bengals would re-sign their 11 year left tackle this offseason. Whitworth was expected to hit the open market, but, the thought was, he would still return and that the Bengals would pay him the way he deserved to be paid.
But, the Rams offered Whitworth a massive deal, given his age, and he couldn’t turn down the money and opportunity. Now, Whitworth is set to join a rebuilding team with a second year quarterback (first overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft) with a brand new head coach, who just happens to be the youngest head coach in the NFL.
The social media reactions from Bengals fans, the media and the families of Bengals players are very reactionary, somewhat over the top and highly emotional. Some Bengals fans are unfollowing the team on social media. Many cannot understand how Cincinnati let it get to this.
Neither can I....
There’s really no way to rationalize the Bengals allowing Whitworth to walk... though, paying a 35-year-old offensive lineman $35 million is a good place to start with rationalizations. Bengals fans likely would have been furious if the team paid Whitworth that much money.
#Rams deal for Andrew Whitworth: 3 years, $36M w $15M guar, including $2.5M guar in Year 2. Deal pays more $13M in Year 1 and $24.5M over 2— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
So, consider that while you’re upset. But, in actuality, and as Katherine Terrell of ESPN mentions below, the team EASILY could have franchise tagged Whitworth to avoid letting him get away. That would have locked him up in Cincinnati for at least one more year and allowed the team to have more time to re-sign Whitworth to a two or three year deal.
That ship has sailed and Whitworth is off to Los Angeles.
Here are the reactions from fans, the media, Bengals players and their family members regarding Whitworth’s departure, starting with his wife, Melissa.
Here's what @awhitworth77's wife Melissa told @FOX19 via text. #Bengals #Rams pic.twitter.com/x5tsnhbLrF— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) March 9, 2017
@JimOwczarski dam that's one of my best friends on the team !!! Love you Whit— ADAm Pacman Jones (@REALPACMAN24) March 9, 2017
Clint and I are losing are BEST friends for the past 6 years currently crying but SO happy for @awhitworth77 and @mrs_whit77 #sodeserved https://t.co/3IigW068ch— Kelly Boling (@kelly_boling) March 9, 2017
@kelly_boling @awhitworth77 @mrs_whit77 much deserved! Also crying inside. Gonna miss you guys! @krista— Mindi Huber (@MindiLN) March 9, 2017
@awhitworth77 want to say thank you brother. Always giving me words of courage, when I needed. Well earned!— DeShawn Williams (@BigNuk_99) March 9, 2017
@awhitworth77 congrats my boy https://t.co/uZ4yipZHaB— Jody Breeze (@Blafell1) March 9, 2017
Congratulations to an incredible family! ❤❤ love you guys! @mrs_whit77 @awhitworth77 https://t.co/deDuD0C1TU— Sara Zeitler (@Mrs_S_Zeitler) March 9, 2017
Well Damn.... The business side of the business. Congratz Big Dawg you deserve it for sure @awhitworth77! Great Leader, Father and Player.— Carlos Dunlap (@Carlos_Dunlap) March 9, 2017
Big Whit, best LT in the game easily, Congrats— Cedric Ogbuehi (@Nuff_ced70) March 9, 2017
They likely didn't offer him enough total, guaranteed or length. They got cheap. https://t.co/sDsAfF4vEb— Joe Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) March 9, 2017
I expected to lose Zeitler. Didn't expect to lose Whit. Neither loss is OK or makes sense. https://t.co/xhY5Bjnuar— Joe Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) March 9, 2017
"Bittersweet" is the word a source used about Andrew Whitworth's feelings leaving Cincinnati.— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) March 9, 2017
Offer he couldn't refuse. #Bengals @FOX19
Replacing a guy like Whit won't be easy, but hoping for the best transition for Cedric at LT.— Lindsay Patterson (@LndsPatterson) March 9, 2017
Reading some of the positive replies to Ced about playing LT. Good to see.— Lindsay Patterson (@LndsPatterson) March 9, 2017
Heard the Bengals were willing to go to $10M range to keep Whitworth, maybe $11M, but Rams offer too strong to keep the left tackle...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 9, 2017
That sound you hear is the Bengals window for winning a playoff game closing ...— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) March 9, 2017
@Rebecca_Toback @awhitworth77 this team is the worst .— Josh Warmouth (@joshwarmouth23) March 9, 2017
I'll never blame anyone for taking a better deal. You better believe I would. https://t.co/5R9h0MZ1uv— Lindsay Patterson (@LndsPatterson) March 9, 2017
Thank you everything @awhitworth77 we love you dude #whodey #bengals— Bengals UK (@WhoDey_UK) March 9, 2017
Join the resistance pic.twitter.com/KdLdCdIRkw— Ryan Patrick (@RoyleRedlegs) March 9, 2017
@JoeGoodberry Andy Dalton time of death... week 1 of the 2017 season.— Nick Howell (@Nick_Howell2) March 9, 2017
I wanted Whit back, but I am not going to lose my mind over him leaving. Can't blame them for not matching those #s for the oldest LT https://t.co/LZxKazb4Rw— Scott Bantel (@ScottBantel) March 9, 2017
Someone give me an off-season plan that involves losing your best 2 OL, leaving you with one good one, and the Bengals competing in 2017— Jake Liscow (@Jake_NFL) March 9, 2017
11 draft picks isn't enough to improve the team if you literally sit on your hands and outdated ideology— John Sheeran (@John__Sheeran) March 9, 2017
EVERYBODY is laughing at the Bengals.— Joe Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) March 9, 2017
@JamesRapien I think Whitworth would have signed the deal I proposed for him. Would have given him even more Year 1 Cash than the Rams deal.— Andre Perrotta (@andreperrotta13) March 9, 2017
Honestly can't blame anyone who thought the whitworth deal would get done. Front office and even Marvin said they were optimisic- fell flat— Braden Whited (@BradenWhited) March 9, 2017
how could you watch last season and let it get this far— John Sheeran (@John__Sheeran) March 9, 2017
WHAT A JOKE— #15million (@losbengalscom) March 9, 2017
.@awhitworth77 gave #Bengals everything. Leader in the locker room. 3 Pro Bowls. All Pro. Delivered money pregame speeches.— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) March 9, 2017
Will be missed.
HAVE SOME FAITH— Connor Howe (@oneandfun) March 9, 2017
@Bengals pic.twitter.com/1vZT0u2L38— Joe Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) March 9, 2017
At this point, what could very well be your 2017 #Bengals 2017 OL.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) March 9, 2017
RG: T.J. Johnson
Thought Whitworth would have been most likely of Big 3 to stay in Cincinnati. Huge loss for #Bengals— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) March 9, 2017
Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunkytown— Braden Whited (@BradenWhited) March 9, 2017
No but seriously this is awful. I'm gonna miss you @awhitworth77
Bengals could have prevented this by tagging Whitworth or placing the transition tag on him while they worked out a deal.— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) March 9, 2017
@JoeGoodberry I'm livid over this! Im seriously starting to hate my team!! He should've retired here!— Angela jiovanni (@Geathersgirl) March 9, 2017
@pauldehnerjr pic.twitter.com/4Qjs2fbHLG— Jason Marcum (@marcum89) March 9, 2017
i have to sit through econ with this vein bulging out of my forehead— John Sheeran (@John__Sheeran) March 9, 2017
I feel bad for Bengals' fans. Their front office has no interest in winning.— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) March 9, 2017
March 9, 2017
YOU IDIOTS— Joe Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) March 9, 2017
Oh man. Not a good morning to be a Bengals fan. We'll miss you, @awhitworth77 . One of the all time Cincy greats. Please stay, @DreKirkSWAG— Tom Geary (@tmgeary) March 9, 2017
Remember that time the Bengals still have Pacman on the roster but let Whit walk and probably Zeit to the Browns? @mitnollam @BengalsTalk— Mason Prophater (@MasonProphater) March 9, 2017
Ok i needs 10 minute twitter break to wipe my tears. I'll be back.— shawn moore (@whodeybaby) March 9, 2017
Also, my thoughts and prayers are with @andydalton14. Someone protect this man. #WhoDey— Austin Elmore (@autyelmore) March 9, 2017
In shock. Can't believe the Bengals let @awhitworth77 get away. I really did not see this coming.— Rebecca Toback (@Rebecca_Toback) March 9, 2017
@Rebecca_Toback @awhitworth77 I'm shocked. I hate this franchise— Stanley Stone (@StanleyStone05) March 9, 2017
@Rebecca_Toback @awhitworth77 Bengals will regret it. I would give Whit that deal all day long to stay in Cincy.— John Plymire (@plymirelaw) March 9, 2017
Ogbuehi at LT. Super Bowl. https://t.co/2jG735es4T— Connor Howe (@oneandfun) March 9, 2017