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News » Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2009-03-20

Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2009-03-20

Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2009-03-20
Despite not having a lot of depth on the offensive line, it appears that Levi Jones' future with the Bengals is in doubt.

With the team looking at taking a tackle with the sixth overall pick in next month's draft, the eight-year veteran might be released or traded. Coincidentally, Jones is the most recent lineman that the Bengals have taken in the first round. He was the 10th overall pick in 2002.

Jones has been the Bengals starting left tackle since his rookie year. After missing only one game in his first four seasons, Jones has missed 18 over the past three seasons due to a series of injuries. He missed the final six games last year after suffering leg injury against Philadelphia.

The release of Jones would mean that the Bengals would have parted ways with as many as six starters since 2006. Center Rich Braham retired early that season while Eric Steinbach and Stacy Andrews have left via free agency and Willie Anderson was released last year. Eric Ghiaciuc is an unrestricted free agent and is not expected to return.

That would make guards Bobbie Williams and Andrew Whitworth the only regular starters to return.

Entering his eighth year in the league, Jones will be in the third year of a six-year contract extension he signed before training camp in 2006. The deal is worth in excess of $40 million with $16.3 million in guarantees.

If Jones were to be traded before the draft, then the Bengals could refocus their efforts on signing free agent George Foster, who has been with Detroit the last two seasons. Foster visited the Bengals on March 5 and has received interest from other teams.

Should the Bengals not draft a tackle and they were to part ways with Jones, then Whitworth could go to left tackle and Anthony Collins, a fourth-round pick last year, could move to right tackle. Williams and either Nate Livings or Evan Mathis could be the guards while a group of three (Kyle Cook, Dan Santucci and Andrew Crummey) are listed at center. But the team is expected to get a center in the second or third round.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 20, 2009

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