Free agent OT Andrew Whitworth mentioned during an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio that while he would love to be back with the Bengals, he’s willing to listen to other teams in the hope of competing for a Super Bowl.
“I love Cincinnati and want to be there,” Whitworth said, via the SportingNews.com. “I’m pretty positive things will work out in a way that I’ll be there in the end. But I want to take advantage of the opportunity of being free and listening to what other people have to say. I think that’s the right way to do it.
“At this point in my career it’s about the challenge, the excitement of trying to win that Super Bowl. I want to make sure wherever it is, and hopefully it’s in Cincinnati, that team is prepared to try and fight for that trophy.”
Whitworth said he plans to keep a close on what the Bengals are doing with their notable free agents and possibly adding to their roster this offseason.
“I want to see what (Bengals management) is trying to do. Are we keeping Kevin Zeitler or Dre Kirkpatrick? There are other guys on the roster who are going to be free and what we’re thinking [about doing] in the draft, that’s important,” Whitworth said. “When you’re a veteran, you realize how important all those pieces are and the commitment to all that. We’re close and I hope we can make some moves to solidify ourselves.”
In regards to possibly switching position, Whitworth he’d be open to it if the right situation was available.
“If there was a special situation that some team would want me to play left guard I’d be open to hear it,” Whitworth said. “But I think most teams would want me to play left tackle (or) if anything maybe right tackle. I really have the ability to play both. It’s just always been a situation that’s where the Bengals have needed me to be.”
Paul Dehner Jr. reported earlier that the Bengals have made it “pretty clear” that Whitworth is a “top priority” for them and would like to bring him back as their left tackle. Dehner Jr. adds that he would be “stunned” if the Bengals didn’t give Whitworth what he’s looking for.
Towards the end of last season, Whitworth made the decision to move to guard and allow 2015 first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi to play left tackle. Whitworth, of course, didn’t have to do that and could have made an issue out of the situation, but it showed his commitment to the team.
Whitworth would likely draw interest from a number of teams in need of left tackle help in free agency if the two sides aren’t able to come to an agreement in the coming weeks.
Whitworth, 35, is a former second-round pick of the Bengals back in 2006. He finished out the final year of his two-year, $14.2 million contract and is now in position to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent next year.
In 2016, Whitworth appeared in all 16 games for the Bengals and is rated by Pro Football Focus as the No. 2 offensive tackle out of 78 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 100 – 2017 Free Agents list.