The Cincinnati Bengals moved some pieces around today, adding former Cowboy S Roy Williams is headed to Cincinnati and cutting longtime OT Levi Jones loose. We (of course) have some thoughts on the moves. We’ll compare the Williams signing to other moves in an upcoming relativity post on post-draft free-agent signings, while you can see the Jones cut in comparison to other recent releases in this post.
UPDATE: The Bengals got closer to a transaction bingo Thursday by trading for RB Brian Leonard. Thoughts on that below, but with a cut, a signing, and a trade, plus the obligatory free space, leaves them just one move for BINGO. I’m hoping beyond hope for a waiver claim on Friday…
Williams had some good seasons as an in-the-box safety in Dallas, even reaching Pro Bowl level. But over recent years, his performance has plummeted as his coverage inadequacies have been exposed. That, plus a hefty price tag, led the Cowboys to cut the cord. Now he heads to Cincinnati, where he’s reunited with ex-Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Zimmer knows what Williams does well and what he can’t do, which gives the Bengals a little better than average chance to use Williams well. Plus, his veteran leadership could help a team that’s slowly building a new defensive nucleus around LBs Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga. On a short-term, incentive-laden deal, it’s easy to see why Cincinnati would take this shot.
Jones was once a top-10 pick, and he started for a long time for Cincinnati. But injuries sapped his effectiveness over the past few years, and the Bengals finally replaced him by drafting Andre Smith at No. 6 overall this year. Jones would have been cut earlier, but Cincinnati waited to get his replacement in house before pulling the plug. Jones could still land somewhere as a backup tackle who’s good enough to play in a pinch but probably can’t play 16 games without getting dinged up. For his sake, we’ll hope he lands with a contender in that kind of role after years of meaningless games in Cincy.
Leonard was a second-round pick just two years ago after a strong career as a ball-carrying fullback at Rutgers. He had a decent rookie year with the Rams but fell off the radar as a sophomore last year. Still, he’s a good enough prospect for Cincinnati to take a shot, especially since they have little depth behind Cedric Benson, who hasn’t proven himself as a dependable full-time back. In exchange, the Bengals gave up DT Orien Harris, who is now onto his sixth team in four years. He’s a potential rotation player but not much more. It’s clear the new Rams regime didn’t have plans for Leonard and just wanted to get a roster-ready guy in exchange.