Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Jonah Williams has requested a trade, according to multiple reports. Williams’ request arrives after the Bengals signed Orlando Brown Jr. to replace him at left tackle. Williams played more than 1,000 snaps on the blindside for the Bengals last season.
Williams has often been saddled with the possibility of kicking to guard due to a lack of desired arm length (30th percentile). The Bengals would likely prefer to retain Williams at guard, but his trade request indicates he feels slighted by their decision to sign Brown. Starting left tackle gigs are difficult to obtain, and Williams could still end up playing guard for his next team.
Jonah Williams is due a fully-guaranteed salary (and cap hit) of $12.6 million in 2023 via the fifth-year player option. Unless his contract is extended in an effort to lower his immediate cap charge, it will limit his potential destinations via trade. We’ve identified three ideal trade partners.
The status of Atlanta’s 2023 offensive line became clearer once general manager Terry Fontenot agreed to extensions with right guard Chris Lindstrom and right tackle Kaleb McGary. Fontenot is still equipped with approximately $34.5 million in cap space, according to Spotrac. Atlanta still has a clear hole to address at left guard.
Jalen Mayfield struggled mightily at left guard in 2021. The Falcons received league-average play from veteran journeymen Elijah Wilkinson at the position in 2022, but Wilkinson is a free agent and Fontenot should be interested in pursuing long-term solutions. Furthermore, 2023 could be Jake Matthews‘ last season at left tackle for the Falcons. Williams could play guard in 2023 with an opportunity to eventually replace Matthews at left tackle.
The Titans signed Philadelphia Eagles free-agent offensive lineman Andre Dillard to a three-year bridge-type contract to presumably replace Taylor Lewan at left tackle. Last year’s starting left guard was Aaron Brewer, who is expected to replace the recently released Ben Jones at center. Tennessee currently has a hole at left guard as a result, and the cap space necessary to acquire Williams.
Williams, who appears interested in playing left tackle, could compete with Dillard to protect Ryan Tannehill’s blindside. The Eagles experimented with Dillard at guard on occasion. The loser of a training camp battle between Williams and Dillard at left tackle could presumably start at left guard for Tennessee.
The Cardinals re-signed right guard Will Hernandez earlier this week. New general manager Monti Ossenfort should shift his attention to the left guard position. Cody Ford, who played 318 snaps at left guard last season, departed in free agency for the Bengals. Former third-round selection Josh Jones is a candidate to play left guard in 2023 after earning 610 snaps at left tackle last season in relief of an injured D.J. Humphries, but it’s worth noting Jones has never played a professional snap at left guard.
Ossenfort still possesses nearly $23 million in financial flexibility. Only four franchises have more cap space at their disposal. New offensive coordinator Drew Petzing is implementing his scheme after being appointed by first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon. Ossenfort can help finalize his 2023 offensive line by acquiring Williams.
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