The Cincinnati Bengals welcomed players back into the building today for the start of their voluntary offseason program. Head Coach Zac Taylor spoke to the media, players chatted with reporters in the locker room, and we got some insight on where certain players coming off of injuries are at in their recovery.
In Taylor’s time in Cincinnati, high attendance at voluntary offseason activities has been the norm and something the team prides itself on. With that being said, there were a few absences Monday that could be calculated.
Tee Higgins and Jonah Williams were not present in the building as the program kicked off. Higgins is in the market for a new contract and while there has been some social media smoke, no confirmed contract is in place. Heading in to the final year of his four-year rookie contract, Higgins is set to cash in either before this season or after.
Williams’ absence is more obvious. Upon the Bengals signing Orlando Brown Jr. and making it clear he was their left tackle of the future, Williams requested a trade through his agent.
As of now, no trade seems imminent and Williams clearly doesn’t have much interest in joining the competition for the starting right tackle spot. With no trade on the horizon, you likely won’t see Williams at any voluntary meetings or workouts. When the mandatory period comes, it will be interesting to see how Williams decides to play his hand.
Another young star to keep an eye on is linebacker Logan Wilson. Wilson is also a part of that 2020 draft class that is up for a new contract and wasn’t seen Monday by the media. With all of the talk about extensions for Joe Burrow and Higgins, Wilson has flown under the radar. As things progress for him, he will look for a deal on the linebacker market that would likely put him up there with the highest-paid linebackers in football.
There was also no sign of Tyler Boyd or Ja’Marr Chase on Monday, but those two don’t have contract questions heading into the season, so they could be training on their own. Taylor himself said that isn’t out of the norm.
“We always have a really good turnout from our guys,” Taylor said. “Our season’s been running long here over the last couple of years. I’m sure there will be some guys who are still in a little bit of the routine wherever they’re at for another couple of weeks. That’s generally pretty normal.”
Players could be traveling or training on their own for now, but certain absences could be an indicator of how they view their status with the team going forward.
We will monitor all reports from Paycor Stadium and provide updates as we have them.