The Cincinnati Bengals sent the NFL world into a shock when they went out and signed Orlando Brown Jr. to play left tackle. An acquisition that seemed out of the question. The NFL world wasn’t the only one that was shocked, though. Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams was also blindsided by the news (pun not intended).
Here is what he said to answer a question about if the Bengals were still shopping Williams.
They’re not. And if they weren’t going to do it before the draft, my feeling is they won’t do it at all. To me, there are teams (like, say, New England) that could really use him. But unless you’re talking about giving Cincinnati a second-round pick for Williams, it doesn’t make sense for the Bengals to move him, because if he plays well for them in the fall, they’ll get that year of service from him at a trouble spot (and insurance on La’el Collins working his way back from a torn ACL), and potentially a third- or fourth-round comp pick in 2025.
...A number of factors played into Williams’s trade request, with the position switch (from left tackle to right) being one and the lack of communication from the team on that switch before signing Brown to a big free-agent deal. For what it’s worth, I do think Williams is in a little better place with the team now than he was a month ago, and I think the Bengals will get a good year out of him, assuming no one comes in and throws big capital at Cincinnati (which could happen if there’s an injury with another team) to get him.
Even at the time of the trade request, it didn’t seem like this move would be made unless a team was willing to sell out for Williams.
First off, he is still rehabbing an injury that he will be recovered from in time for camp (also mentioned by Breer). Then there is the fact his contract certainly won’t match up with the value that Cincinnati would be expecting to get in return. One year left on his deal worth $12 million certainly is not worth a Day 2 pick to most teams at this point.
Not to mention the Bengals are not a team that makes deals for the sake of making them. If they had use for the $12 million in cap space they’d create from trading Williams, then they’d be more inclined to take less or (even more unlikely) eat some of the contract to facilitate the trade. They see this as their window for a Super Bowl, and a player like Williams potentially playing right tackle or even just as a backup is a huge luxury for a team that has seen its season derailed the past two years by injuries along the offensive line. That is worth more than a late selection in the draft.
The best part about this whole report is to hear Williams and the Bengals are in a better spot now. The hate that has surrounded Williams the past few seasons has been completely unwarranted. He is a solid tackle in this league, and there is no doubt he will find a new home quickly next off-season.
It also says plenty about his character that he isn’t forcing his way out or refusing to come to practice when he has recovered. The business side of this game can be ugly, but Williams and Cincinnati are a perfect match going into 2023 with both sides looking to get over the hump.