Jonah Williams Landing Spots: Best Fits for Bengals OT Include Patriots, Jets, and Bears

    Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams has requested a trade out of Cincinnati. Where are his best landing spots around the NFL?

    Jonah Williams might be the odd man out after the Cincinnati Bengals signed free agent Orlando Brown Jr. to a four-year deal on Wednesday night. With Brown scheduled to take over as the Bengals’ new left tackle, Williams has requested a trade out of Cincinnati, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.

    If the Bengals grant his request, where are Williams’ best landing spots around the NFL? Let’s run through the fits that make the most sense.

    Jonah Williams’ Best Landing Spots

    Williams has one year remaining on his contract, a fifth-year option worth a fully guaranteed $12.604 million. Although he struggled at times in 2022, Williams is still only 25 years and displayed toughness by playing through two dislocated kneecaps.

    Although Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said at the Scouting Combine that it would “probably be pretty difficult” to move Williams to right tackle, that is the club’s plan following the addition of Brown.

    MORE: 2023 NFL Free Agency Day 4’s Winners

    Williams wants to play on the blindside, but few teams remain with a vacancy at left tackle. The Titans had an opening but seem to have filled it by signing former Eagles OT Andre Dillard. Left tackle remains a need for the Steelers, but the Bengals are unlikely to trade Williams to a division rival.

    There are clubs that could and should be interested in Williams, but he might have to accept a move to right tackle, nevertheless.

    New England Patriots

    The Patriots were viewed as potential suitors for Brown or fellow free agent tackles Mike McGlinchey or Jawaan Taylor, but they instead went a more cost-effective route. Thus far, New England has signed veterans Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson, but neither received enough money to be locked in as a starter.

    Williams could theoretically play left tackle for the Patriots. Trent Brown is currently penciled in as New England’s LT, but he’s spent more career snaps on the right side (3,152) than on the left (2,518). Bill Belichick has an affinity for ex-Alabama players, and the Patriots have the cap space to fit Williams’ contract on their books.

    New York Jets

    Duane Brown played through a torn rotator cuff to make 12 starts for the Jets in 2022, and he plans to return next season. But he’s 38 years old, and New York could open up nearly $5 million in cap space by releasing him (or almost $10 million if he’s a post-June 1 release).

    The rest of Gang Green’s offensive tackle situation is unsettled. Former first-rounder Mekhi Becton was demoted to right tackle, then suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. He’s entering the final season of his rookie contract, and the Jets seem likely to decline his fifth-year option for 2024. Fourth-round rookie Max Mitchell made five starts last season but ended the year on the non-football injury list.

    New York hasn’t made any additions to its offensive line this offseason, but the possibility of acquiring Williams should intrigue them. Releasing Brown and adding a replacement 13 years his junior will likely hold some appeal, especially if the Jets could work out a contract extension with Williams.

    Chicago Bears

    Addressing the media on Thursday, Bears general manager Ryan Poles said Orlando Brown Jr. wasn’t a perfect scheme fit in Chicago but seemed open to further improving his offensive line. The Bears have already added former Titans guard Nate Davis on a three-year, $30 million deal.

    Poles also said longtime Bears guard Cody Whitehair could see time at center, noting the veteran has “4,000 snaps there.” In that case, Chicago could field an offensive line that goes Braxton Jones-Teven Jenkins-Whitehair-Davis from left to right, leaving only right tackle as a need.

    Jones played so well as a fifth-round rookie in 2022 that he’s unlikely to be moved to the right side, so Williams would have to be willing to accept a position switch. It’s possible Williams just wants a change of scenery, given that the Bengals haven’t extended him, in which case a move to Chicago could be attractive.

    Arizona Cardinals

    Williams wouldn’t play left tackle in Arizona, either, as D.J. Humphries is entrenched on Kyler Murray’s blindside. But the Cardinals need to get younger everywhere, and acquiring Williams for what might amount to a mid-round pick could be well worth it for new general manager Monti Ossenfort.

    While Arizona re-signed right tackle Kelvin Beachum, the 34-year-old received just $5.15 million on a two-year deal. That’s hardly starter money — it’s barely even high-end backup money.

    MORE: Remaining 2023 NFL Free Agents by Position

    The Cardinals have the fourth-most cap space in the NFL with $23.3 million, so adding Williams’ salary wouldn’t be a problem. Arizona would likely be inclined to immediately extend Williams and slot him in as their long-term right tackle.

    If the Cardinals present the best trade offer, Williams might have to determine whether he wants to start fresh with a rebuilding club in Arizona or stay on with a contending team in Cincinnati.

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