3 Bengals who could be traded away by midseason
Collins' name might be a surprise since he was the big catch in free agency last year, but let me explain. He had an up-and-down season with Cincy in 2022. He was nursing a nagging back injury for most of the season that affected his play. However, even when he was cleared to play, he did not live up to his elite 2021 campaign.
A disgruntled Jonah Williams recovering from injury is assumed to fill in for Collins until healthy. However, there is also a dark horse in this race. 2021 second-rounder Jackson Carman has entirely reshaped his body after trouble with his weight last season and is getting reps with the first team. Williams or Carman could be the plan for the future at the right tackle position.
Collins being injured and having a roller coaster of film in 2022 makes him the immediate odd man out. The Cincinnati front office picked up Williams’ fifth-year option, making him a free agent in 2024. While his long-term future in Cincinnati is still uncertain, he will have a chance to prove himself this year.
The offensive line has been Cincinnati’s kryptonite since Andrew Whitworth’s departure in 2016, but this 2023 group has the talent to break that curse. It is illogical to pay three players to pay a single position, and one of the three will not return next year.
La'el Collins is the oldest of the three competitors, has the most-expensive contract, the most injured body, and the highest trade value. Cincinnati would be clever to offload him before the deadline for a mid to late-day two pick.