Report: Bengals listening to multiple offers for Jonah Williams

The Bengals don’t have a history of honoring trade requests, but it could benefit them in this case.
Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams (73) plays during an NFL football game...
Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams (73) plays during an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)(Jeff Dean | AP)
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 11:26 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The Bengals have had conversations with multiple NFL teams regarding offensive lineman Jonah Williams, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Williams, the Bengals’ first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, has started 42 games for Cincinnati at left tackle. He requested a trade last week after the Bengals effectively replaced him at that position with the free-agent signing of Orlando Brown, forcing Williams to move to the left side of the line.

The Bengals picked up Williams’ fifth-year option on his rookie deal prior to last season, making 2023 a contract year where he’ll look to prove his value.

The problem for Williams—and the rationale behind his trade request—is left tackles are generally paid more in the NFL than right tackles.

It’s no guarantee the Bengals will trade Williams, and owner Mike Brown has declined trade requests in similar situations. (See: Carson Palmer)

But it could make sense for Cincinnati. Williams carries a cap hit of $12.6 million in 2023. Shedding his contract would put the team at around $30 million in cap space, potentially making room for one or more splash free-agent signings at tight end or running back.

Cincinnati could then take a right tackle in the draft, feasibly with the mid-round pick they might receive in return for Williams. Or the Bengals could use that pick to shore up the future at positions including linebacker, cornerback or defensive tackle.

With the depth of the tight end and running back classes this year, a top-tier player could still be available there as well.

The downside is the team would likely be forced to rely on Hakeem Adeniji at the beginning of next season as La’el Collins returns from the torn ACL he suffered in December.