Commanders Can Sign Bengals Free Agent to Replace Andrew Wylie

Right tackle Andrew Wylie was perhaps the biggest disappointment along a disastrous Washington Commanders offensive line in 2023, but Jonah Williams of the Cincinnati Bengals can replace him in 2024 NFL free agency.

Williams is the O-lineman the Commanders should want to sign, according to Bryan Manning of Commanders Wire. He made his case for a list compiled by Touchdown Wire’s Alyssa Barbieri, and Manning believes Williams is gettable because “while the Bengals would love to retain him, they have other players to pay. He should hit free agency and have a strong market.”

Although “Williams began his career at left tackle but moved to right tackle in 2023 to accommodate Orlando Brown. Some teams could view Williams as a left tackle, which would also alter his asking price.”

Fortunately, the Commanders needn’t pay over the odds for Williams. Not based on where they need him to play: “For Washington, it should pursue Williams to play right tackle and use the draft to find the left tackle of the future to protect the rookie quarterback.”

It’s a sound plan, but one that would surely spell trouble for Wylie. Especially since he’s set to be one of the team’s bigger cap hits for 2024.

Commanders Have Room for Jonah Williams

There’s no shortage of spots for Williams along Washington’s front five. As Manning put it, “the Commanders could have as many as four new starters in 2024. Only RG Sam Cosmi is assured of his spot.”

Keeping Cosmi makes sense after the second-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft went from strength to strength last season. Cosmi graded “4th among all guards,” per PFF Commanders.

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Sam Cosmi: 82.1 PFF Grade this season

4th among all Guards 👏 pic.twitter.com/GvqTGL2vOX

— PFF Commanders (@PFF_Washington) February 16, 2024

The grade marked a successful position switch for Cosmi, whose struggles on the edge prompted the Commanders to sign Wylie. That didn’t work, but Williams could bring some stability to the same position.

Williams, by contrast, was a consistent presence on the right, delivering some dominant displays in pass protection. Like when he blanked the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15, per PFF CIN Bengals.

Jonah Williams had the most true pass sets in week 15 without giving up a sack, hit or hurry (21) 📈 pic.twitter.com/MTHHR0Ej8s

— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) December 20, 2023

Performances like this explain why Williams merited the 11th-overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Shoulder surgery wiped out his rookie campaign, but Williams bounced back in style to help the 2021 Bengals reach the Super Bowl.

He was a key figure during a playoff run that claimed the Tennessee Titans as victims. This impressive drive block by No. 73, playing left tackle against Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, sprung Joe Mixon for a touchdown and showcased Williams’ power in the running game.

Joe Mixon! The @Bengals have a 10-point lead. #RuleTheJungle #NFLPlayoffs

📺: #CINvsTEN on CBS
📱: https://t.co/3uvV4E3BTI pic.twitter.com/sD0AZwhOaH

— NFL (@NFL) January 22, 2022

Williams would boost the Commanders’ blocking in both phases. Something Wylie struggled to do last season.

Andrew Wylie Didn’t Make the Grade

Wylie looked like a home-run signing in free agency after the levels he reached helping the Kansas City Chiefs win the 2023 Super Bowl. Wiley dominated Haason Reddick and a Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive front that had logged 70 sacks, per PFF.

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Andrew Wylie with a bounceback Super Bowl performance vs the dominant Eagles DL 💪 pic.twitter.com/YwqfjAqNtG

— PFF (@PFF) February 13, 2023

Replicating that form proved impossible for Wylie once he moved to the NFC East. Instead, the 29-year-old was a revolving door for pass-rushers, allowing nine sacks, six quarterback hits and 42 pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.

Wylie was tormented during his rematch with Reddick in Week 8. This sack, highlighted by Mark Tyler of Hogs Haven, summed up Wylie’s struggles.

4th and 5 – Wylie absolutely DESTROYED and Reddick essentially ends the game pic.twitter.com/JuFnpjHyql

— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) October 29, 2023

Moving on from Wylie would be a cost-effective move since Spotrac.com has him accounting for $9,416,666 against the salary cap this year. He’ll also carry a cap hit worth $10,416,668 in 2025.

The Commanders have an out in ’25, but switching Wylie to left tackle or even left guard could salvage something from their investment. At least putting Williams next to Cosmi would ensure the Commanders are stout on one side of the trenches.

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