The Cincinnati Bengals have some decisions to make, when it comes to their anchor of the offensive line. Will Andrew Whitworth stay?
Andrew Whitworth, the veteran left tackle, is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2017. Whitworth signed a one-year, $9 million contract prior to this past season. My question is: Should the Bengals shell out the cash to keep him in stripes?
Let’s Take a Look at The Tackle Situation
Take a look at the offensive tackles returning for the 2017 season. The Bengals ended the season with four tackles on their roster. Veterans Whitworth and Eric Winston each turning in double-digit years of NFL Experience. Then there’s the young guns: Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi both of which were taken with the Bengals’ first two picks in the 2015 Draft. The writing on the wall seems to say that with the investment in youth recently, the Bengals are primed to possibly let the 35-year-old venture elsewhere next season.
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The Best Option for the Cincinnati Bengals
As a former offensive lineman, it’s easy for me to develop a soft spot for the big guys in the trenches. Seeing a franchise player like Whitworth, who has spent all 11 of his seasons with the Bengals and starting 164 of his 168 games played, you get used to a guy being out there. With the struggles of the offense, it just doesn’t make much sense to trust an unproven Ogbuehi with the left tackle spot. I look for Fisher to take over full-time at right tackle. He has the experience and athleticism to produce at the position. Whitworth has put in his time. He has paid his dues. Quite simply, he has just produced year in and year out. He is the best option for right now.
It’s understood that there comes a time when you have to let a guy go, however, even at 35 years old, the 6’7″, 330 pounder still holds his own against some of the NFL’s best pass rushers.
It will be interesting to see what the Bengals do during the 2017 NFL Draft. Do they feel the need to draft yet another offensive tackle? If so, you can guarantee that there is no plan to re-sign Whitworth to a new deal. We shall wait and see.