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The Cincinnati Bengals have a lot to consider when it comes to picking up the fifth and final year of offensive tackle Jonah Williams’ rookie contract.
Williams, the 11th overall pick in 2019, was the team’s best lineman last season at left tackle. For now, the 2022 season is his final year under contract at a cap hit of roughly $5.6 million.
Were the Bengals to pick up his fifth-year option, he’d be locked down for 2023 at a $12.6 million cap hit.
Making sure Williams stays in town to defend the left side of Joe Burrow’s line seems like a no-brainer, especially considering he’s still just 24 years old and could keep improving.
But these decisions don’t happen in a vacuum, which is surely why director of player personnel Duke Tobin dropped the following nugget at a pre-draft meeting, as captured by ESPN’s Ben Baby:
Duke Tobin said the team is still working through the decision of picking OT Jonah Williams' fifth-year option.
— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) April 22, 2022
Cincinnati has to balance a massive budget that could include a big extension for safety Jessie Bates. They’d like to get Joe Burrow’s monster contract done early. And it’s never too early to think about Ja’Marr Chase, to name a few.
This is all very much a juggling act for a Bengals front office that, should the coaching staff provide the green light, would probably like to extend Williams for the long-term, too.
The Bengals have until May 2 to make a decision on the fifth-year option, so expect something soon after the draft.