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Bengals would be best to stay out of Trent Williams sweepstakes

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Williams remains an elite talent, but a gigantic risk that the Bengals can ignore.

NFL Football-Washington Redskins at New York Giants Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Until the Cincinnati Bengals finally solidify their offensive line, every talented offensive lineman that is available for trade will provide some value to them. But no matter how good any team’s offensive line is, Trent Williams provides too much value to outright ignore.

The Washington Redskins have finally granted Williams and his agent the freedom to explore a trade, and as expected, the NFL showed immediate gratitude. Along with the Cleveland Browns, who have wanted to trade for Williams for months, the Arizona Cardinals, the Houston Texans, and the New York Jets have all expressed interest in dealing for the seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle. It’s not just about trading for Williams, it’s about giving into his demands to be the highest-paid tackle in football.

And that is exactly why the Bengals will not entertain any of it.

For starters, upgrading at offensive tackle is not even a high priority for the Bengals this offseason. They are enamored with Jonah Williams and want him to play left tackle for them. If Bobby Hart isn’t starting at right tackle, either Fred Johnson or a draft pick is. Whoever it is won’t be someone making nearly four times as much as Hart.

The Bengals would never trade for someone who is commanding ample amounts of guaranteed money anyways, as they prefer taking on guys who’ve already earned their signing bonus money.

Williams is on the trading block in the first place because his relationship with the Redskins is too far damaged to be repaired after they medically cleared him despite a rare form of cancer that nearly reached his brain. As a result of this, Williams held out for the entire 2019 season and is scheduled to make $12.5 million this upcoming season, which is well below what the market for tackles is now.

When healthy, we have every reason to believe Williams is still one of the very best at his position. He’s always been one of the premiere offensive line athletes, so there’s nothing you can’t run with him protecting your quarterback’s blindside.

The problems with trading for Williams come with having to pay him nearly $20M a year when he’s about to turn 32 and hasn’t played since 2018. There’s a sizable risk in acquiring him, but there’s still a market for his services because of how good he’s been for the past decade.

Having Jonah Williams and Bobby Hart penciled in as your starting tackles shouldn’t turn you away from giving up a second-round pick (the projected compensation) one of the best blockers in the game. Everything else that comes with, however, should prevent the Bengals from seriously considering it if they already weren’t.

Which, of course, they were not. Just in case you had to ask.