The Cincinnati Bengals have been extremely active in NFL free agency thus far. Might they be entering the trade market as well?
Not long after the blockbuster signing of left tackle Orlando Brown, the incumbent Jonah Williams requested a trade through his agent, as he wants to play for a team that will let him remain on the blindside.
Since the NFL Draft is still over a month away and the Bengals will probably just get draft compensation for Williams, one wouldn’t think a deal will happen soon.
However, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport believes that the Bengals may actually make a trade involving Williams sooner rather than later.
“You know, it could happen soon. There are teams that would like to get everything filled before the draft,” Rapoport said Friday during an interview on The Pat McAfee Show. That’s kind of your goal, right? You want to go into the draft with no holes so you can take the best player available. Cincy is generally pretty reasonable. It could happen today.”
A key reason why a trade could happen soon is there won’t be a big market for Williams due to the $12.6 million cap hit he has for his next team, and there aren’t exactly a ton of teams in desperate need of a left tackle.
In reality, there’s probably just a handful of teams that could make a trade work for Williams in terms of need and available cap space. Having a limited number of teams could actually be a good thing since that would make it easier to establish a market for Williams’ trade value.
The Bengals will obviously want to get as much as possible in a deal for Williams, but at this point, it’s hard to see them getting more than a third-round pick. Perhaps an incentive-laden deal will get it done, like trading a third-round pick that can turn into a second-rounder if Williams hits certain incentives like playing in a certain percentage of his new teams’ offensive snaps.
Check out Rapoport’s full interview below.