NFL Rumors: Cincinnati Bengals Won't Trade Tackle Williams

It seems the Cincinnati Bengals and tackle Jonah Williams have found a frostier market than they expected. Speaking at the owner's meetings on Tuesday, head coach Zac Taylor communicated that the Bengals plan to have Williams compete for the team's right tackle spot.

The Bengals made one of the most surprising splashes of free agency when they signed four-time Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Brown to a four-year, $64 million pact. That transaction cast doubt over Williams' future with the team. 

Williams joined the Bengals as their 11th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Including the playoffs, he has started 47 of a possible 73 games. He peaked in 2021, starting 16 games in the regular season and earning a solid 77.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus for his efforts.

Williams' draft pedigree and involvement with the Bengals' successful offense (7th in scoring in 2021 and 2022) were expected to merit him some looks around the league, but he and the Bengals must not have found a deal to their liking. His history of injuries and mostly mediocre play have likely put a lucrative extension out of reach for the moment; he'll probably have to play out his fifth-year option and test free agency next year. 

With a solid and healthy season, Williams should land a much more substantial offer than what's likely available now. The Bengals could eventually land a third-round compensatory pick for him if he leaves via free agency, and it's hard to believe he would fetch any more than that right now in a trade. It's probably best for both parties for him to return in 2023.

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