Jonah Williams has been the starting left tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals for the last three seasons (42 starts). That didn’t stop the Bengals from signing four-time Pro Bowler Orlando Brown Jr. to a four-year deal to play on the left side.
This led to Williams seeking a trade from Cincinnati, and they’ve had conversations regarding the former first-round pick.
However, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor expects Williams to compete at right tackle in 2023.
“I like everything about Jonah. I’m excited to see him come in and compete at right tackle,” Taylor said, via the team’s official website. “He’s always been everything we wanted him to be about. We’ve never had issues with him. Hopefully, we can work through this, and he can come in and compete at right tackle for us. That’s what we’re counting on him to do … He’s never been an issue and I don’t anticipate that being an issue.”
The Bengals signed La’el Collins to a three-year deal last March to be their starter at right tackle.
Unfortunately, after 15 starts, Collins tore his ACL and MCL against the New England Patriots last December which puts his status to start the season in jeopardy.
That leaves Williams to compete with 2021 second-round pick Jackson Carman for the starting role at right tackle.
When Williams suffered a dislocated kneecap in last year’s playoffs against the Baltimore Ravens, Carman played well in place of Williams at left tackle and did so again the next week versus the Buffalo Bills before struggling against the Kansas City Chiefs in AFC Championship Game.
Although he made 16 starts last season, Williams had his struggles at left tackle giving up 12 sacks and 43 pressures according to Pro Football Focus.
So, having to switch to a new position when he still needs to fine-tune the previous one doesn’t bode well that Williams will be successful on the right side. Plus, it’s not set in stone he’ll still be with the Bengals when the season starts.
The issue for Williams if he keeps his desire to be traded is that he’s set to make $12.604 million next season.
So, with his struggles on the field, other teams will be hard-pressed to relinquish significant draft capital to acquire Williams.
Williams is in the final year of his rookie deal, and he may end up in a situation where he has to buckle down and learn a new position to earn his first big payday.
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