Fans and even so-called experts speculate all the time about what a player means when they post something on their social media, delete their social media altogether, or what an absence from a voluntary OTA means. However, most often, when push comes to shove, the business side of the NFL game shows itself, and after it is all said and done, players honor what their contract says and they show up to work. Living in Nashville, TN, I witnessed this exact thing with Kevin Byard last week. He was upset for being asked to take a pay cut earlier in the off-season and refused to come to voluntary OTAs. However, when mandatory minicamp arrived, Byard was present and worked with the defense like he was supposed to do. Most players can not afford to simply not show up, or even “hold in” (the act of showing up physically in the facility to avoid getting fined but refusing to participate in any team activities to prove a point or show they are unhappy about something, i.e. Stefon Diggs at Bills practice Tuesday) as it has come to be known since the new collective bargaining agreement was signed a few years back.
Cue Jonah Williams. When asked about Jonah Williams being back at mandatory minicamp, Joe Burrow responded by saying, “Yeah. It was good to have him back. Uh…whenever someone has business going on, it’s always nice to get him back around the guys…see their face.” The “business” Burrow is referring to is simply a lack of communication between the team, Jonah Williams, and his agent, which left Jonah feeling slighted for not receiving word about the Bengals signing Orlando Brown Jr. to play left tackle before or after the event and having to read about it via Apple News. However, after weeks of speculation from “experts” and fans, Jonah got his opportunity to speak and get his message heard. After it was all said and done, he understands the situation, and seems excited about the prospect of playing football this season and doing it on the right side of the O-Line. Jonah was quoted as saying, “It was never left tackle, right tackle I know a lot of people made it out to be that. It wasn’t that. Ya know, there’s 64 tackle spots in the league, to have any of them is a, is a crazy, amazing opportunity and I’m super grateful for the chance…So, if the plan is to play me at right tackle, I’m fired up to do it, let’s go.”
From a 30,000 foot view I believe we all can relate to that sentiment, and can understand Jonah’s position on the matter. I also commend him for standing in front of the media this week and answering questions about the situation for almost ten minutes and explaining his thoughts and feelings. Essentially what the Cincinnati Bengals front office and coaching staff have done is create both competition and ultimately depth at that right tackle spot. The newly added depth will add to the value of the offensive line room as a whole, and will make it one of the stronger position groups on the field this season which I do not think anyone would have thought even six months ago. The business side of the NFL is an ever-moving machine and everyone has to understand that that machine never stops working. Be patient, let things play out, and understand that when push comes to shove, more often than not, the machine corrects itself and we all move on.