For the last several years Andrew Whitworth has been one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL and was graded by Pro Football Focus as the 2nd rated tackle this past year with a 91.3 grade (Considered Elite). Whitworth has been a cornerstone for the Bengals over the years but is 35 years old and now an unrestricted free agent. Cincinnati has been proactive for this by drafting Cedric Ogbuehi in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft as a future replacement for Whitworth.
While poor development from Ogbuehi may lead the Bengals to try and resign Whitworth to a short term deal, Alex Marvez of The Sporting News reports that Whitworth is planning on testing the open market. Good tackles don’t hit free agency very often and with so many teams needing tackles, a 35 year old Whitworth won’t have trouble finding suitors.
Where Whitworth goes could have a major impact on the 2017 draft class where there is some talent in the class no elite level prospects and the talent level drops off after the first handful of prospects. Whitworth likely goes to a team looking to make a run at the Super Bowl who is picking at the end of the first round. Thus possibly pushing one or more of the prospects out of the first round.
Here are the potential teams that Whitworth may sign with.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Behind an emerging Jameis Winston the Buccaneers are not too far off from being true contenders and could use some protection. Whitworth’s physical style would fit right in with the Bucs offense.
The Broncos line was a mess last year where free agent acquisition Russell Okung never lived up to expectations. Denver has the defense to contend and if they are also able to sign Tony Romo the addition of Whitworth would be huge.
New York Giants
With Eli Manning only having a couple of years left, the Giants window is right now to win another Super Bowl. Former 10th overall pick Ereck Flowers has been getting abused at left tackle and signing Whitworth to a short term deal could allow Flowers to move to right tackle where he could be more effective.
Duane Brown has played well but he’s wearing down largely because of injuries. Whitworth is from Louisiana and very active back in his home state, playing in Houston would also allow him to be closer to home.