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Duke Tobin doesn’t sound confident in keeping Jonah Williams

Williams should get a big payday in NFL free agency.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Ever since Orlando Brown Jr. signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, Jonah Williams was viewed as a goner once the 2024 NFL free agency period began.

Duke Tobin isn’t exactly doing much to dispute that notion.

In an interview with Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Tobin didn’t sound like someone expecting Williams to be back next season, at least compared to what he said about fellow impending free agent Tee Higgins.

“Jonah I thought played well, made a position switch, gave us a full season. It was impressive,” said Tobin. “He showed that he’s versatile, which will play well for him over time. I don’t know what the future holds. We’ll see.

“We’ve got this pie, whether there’s a big enough piece of pie for him or he’s going to get a bigger piece of pie somewhere else, we’ll see. It’s hard to predict right now exactly what other teams are going to do and their interest level in any of our free agents. We’re proud of Jonah for the way he played.”

It’s not that the Bengals don’t want to keep Williams, who had a decent year as the starting right tackle for all 17 games. Because he will want to go back to left tackle, that means Williams and his agent will be looking for left tackle money in free agency, something he’s not getting from Cincinnati to keep playing right tackle.

There’s always a chance his market won’t develop, and he’ll be forced to take a smaller deal, which could put the Bengals back in play. But while Williams may not be a great tackle, anyone who watches today’s NFL can see that good offensive tackles are in short supply across the league. So even an average/above-average tackle who’s only 26 years old like Williams is going to get a nice payday somewhere.

Best of luck to Williams as he seeks his first major NFL payday since joining the league out of Alabama in the 2019 NFL Draft.