Wednesday morning, we saw reports that the Cincinnati Bengals had been talking to potential suitors for a Jonah Williams trade. After signing Orlando Brown Jr. to play left tackle, Williams doesn’t appear interested in moving to the right side and has requested a trade via his agent.
With the Bengals’ past history with trade requests, some wondered if they would entertain offers, or simply force Williams to play out the final year of his contract. It would appear that the front office is once again taking a new approach and exploring the idea of moving the fifth-year offensive lineman, but what could they get in return?
The Jets would send Mekhi Becton to the Bengals for Williams. Becton has played just one game over the past two seasons because of injuries and would require a lengthy physical, but he looked like a franchise left tackle in 2020. He would get a shot on the right side for Cincinnati, which is trying to get more physical up front.
Williams has the more significant résumé as a pro, but Becton’s 2020 season was better than Williams has looked at this level. Becton also has a fifth-year option available, although I would expect the Bengals to decline it because of his injury history. Williams is more expensive, and Cincinnati could use the $9 million or so it would save with this swap to work on rebuilding its secondary.
The idea makes some sense. The current focus on the Bengals offensive line is the right tackle position. With Williams not wanting to make the switch and La’el Collins recovering from a torn ACL, that is where the biggest questions for the Bengals’ front five are.
Mekhi Becton has a similar story with the Jets as Williams has with the Bengals. Both were prospective long-term answers at tackle that haven’t necessarily panned out due to injuries and inconsistent performances. Both also offer a chance for the team trading them to see how they perform for a season, without committing to them long-term.
Williams is playing on his fifth-year option, and Becton is in the final year of his contract. If he is willing to play the right side, the Bengals could make the move and get a player for a position of need at half the cap hit.