Bengals Decide To Part Ways With Andrew Whitworth

Jan 3, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth (77) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. The bengals won 24-16. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth (77) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. The bengals won 24-16. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The free agency bug has claimed another Bengals favorite. Andrew Whitworth is set to soak up the sun as a member of the Los Angeles Rams.

Here we go again. That’s the only way to describe the Cincinnati Bengals latest attempt at plugging a hole in the dam. Longtime left tackle and captain, Andrew Whitworth is set to become a member of the Los Angeles Rams. Via The Cincinnati Enquirer, Whitworth will be making $36 million over three years. Of that large amount of cheese, $15 million is guaranteed. The players aren’t even in pads and Bengals fans are feeling the onset of a steadily building migraine.

Last season was the beginning of woes for the Bengals franchise. When faced with a similar free agency dilemma, top-caliber players were allowed to dive into the money pool and swim away. Safety Reggie Nelson was considered expendable and had a Pro Bowl campaign with the Oakland Raiders. Mohamed Sanu found “greener” pastures with the Atlanta Falcons and ended up in Super Bowl LI.

Speed burner Marvin Jones was able to do considerable damage with the Detroit Lions. Jones was able to eclipse his Bengals stats, in his first year starting. In the Motor City, he reeled in 930 yards on 55 receptions and had four TDs. Marvin accomplished that feat with 10 fewer catches. There’s no need to bring up A.J. Green. The possibilities, with those two together, would have been amazing.

Just looking at that tweet is enough to make a Bengals fan want to pull their hair out. But, the problem is simple: Unfortunately, Bengals fans have very little hair left to pull out. 

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What In The Filth Flarn?! 

Whitworth made it known that he wanted to stay in the Queen City. The talented lineman was listed on the Pro Football Focus rundown of the best players to hit free agency. Yes. No need to raise an eyebrow. Whitworth chimed in at the No.10 spot with ease. But, somehow, Bengals brass seemed to overlook that accolade.

What makes the loss of Whitworth so shameful is the fact it was anticipated. There was no need for the situation to degenerate to this point. He wanted to remain a member of the Bengals organization.

"“I’ll be playing somewhere next year. Hopefully here. One way or another I’ll be playing left tackle somewhere hopefully. Without question I want it to be here.”"

Was that statement in ancient Sanskrit? Why is it so hard for Bengals brass to understand loyalty? In this day of cutthroat practices, a player wanting to finish their career with the same team is rare. Obviously, before something happened, Whitworth wanted to do just that.

The Bengals are losing a three-time Pro Bowl tackle with All-Pro honors thrown in. But, they aren’t just losing the athleticism. They’re losing a voice in the locker room that helped Andy Dalton discover his leadership abilities. Whitworth decreased his volume so Dalton could be heard. During the 2015 pre-training camp period, head coach Marvin Lewis was delighted to talk about the “passing of the baton.”

"“Whitworth is cutting his ties to allow Andy to keep going, as Whit would say,” Lewis explained, per ESPN. “He’s passed the baton to Andy and he’s happy to give it up. That’s a good thing.”"

How Can This Be Explained?

Free agency can be both an early Christmas present and the rock that Charlie Brown gets each Halloween. For Bengals faithful, it seems that the Grinch has shown up to serve cocktails at the party again.

The questions abound. Is this the answer to possibly keeping Kevin Zeitler around? When you’re dealing with the Orange and Black, it’s always hard to tell. At last glance, Zeitler was in his own version of The O-Line Blues.

I remember a conversation with my son that always creeps up when the Bengals do wacky things.

“Dad. Why do you put so much into that team?”

I sat with the phone to my ear (yes, a cell phone. I’m not that old, geez) and shook my head as if he could see the unsettling emotion.

“Because that’s the hometown team. Been with ‘em for a long time. They’ll get it right.”

There was a long pause before he sighed and answered.

“They’re only gonna keep lettin’ you down.”

Next: Time To Go Mocking Again

Wise words. I should probably look for another team. Obviously, the Bengals are in the business of breaking hearts. Meh. Who am I fooling? I’ll drink the Kool-Aid one more year. I’m on a one-year contract leash like Marvin Lewis.