The plan was for Cincy to shift Williams from left to right tackle. Instead, the 25-year-old would prefer to move all the way out of town. Williams requested a trade soon after the Brown deal was signed.
The Bengals have rebuffed all questions about a Williams trade, reiterating several times in the past weeks that they have no intention of trading the offensive tackle, with head coach Zac Taylor noting last month the expectation is that Williams will indeed move to RT despite his offseason huffing and puffing.
The belief that Williams won't be traded has made its way down to the locker room. La'el Collins, who started 15 games at right tackle last season before suffering an ACL tear, brushed aside questions about Williams' request.
"Jonah's going to be fine. He's a hell of an NFL player. He's a first-round pick. He's done it," Collins told Geoff Hobson of the team's official website. "I've got all the confidence in the world in Jonah with the type of person he is. It's like every one of these guys in here. To me, man, all it is is we're going to be better and we're going to have depth and we're going to be deep and we're coming and we're not stopping."
Collins' late-season injury puts his return to the lineup in question to open the 2023 season. As such, the Bengals are counting on not only Williams eventually acquiescing to the position move but also playing well in front of Joe Burrow.
Williams is set to make $12.6 million in 2023, the fifth and final year of his rookie contract. Given the cost and his middling play last season, it's unlikely the Bengals would get much compensation in return for any trade. Williams is worth more to Cincinnati than any other club.
But if he were to get traded, this week would make the most sense, as it would provide the AFC North champs an opportunity to add draft capital to aid another deep run in 2023.