The Cincinnati Bengals shored up an integral piece of their offensive line, signing left tackle Andrew Whitworth to an extension that will keep him in Cincinnati through the 2015 season. WKRC-TV's Brad Johansen reports that the deal is worth an additional $20 million to Whitworth who is slated to earn a base salary of just over $3 million this season.
The Bengals drafted Whitworth out of LSU in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft. Since then, he has emerged as a leader both on the field and in the locker room. This past off season, Whitworth served as the Bengals' player representative and helped organize the team's off season workouts. Since being drafted, Whitworth has started 70 of 74 games and has played the last 33 at left tackle. He only surrendered two sacks last year and led the fan balloting at tackle for last year's Pro Bowl, but was ultimately not selected. He was, however, voted the Bengals' MVP by the Cincinnati Pro Football Writer's Association.
Head coach Marvin Lewis was pleased about signing the anchor to his offensive line, telling the Enquirer's Joe Reedy:
"Whit is a very fine player and also a team leader, so this is obviously good news for our team. It's good to get this done before the regular season begins, and I credit our front office as well as his side for making it happen."
With Whitworth under contract, the Bengals will now turn their attention toward signing cornerback Leon Hall who could become a free agent after this season. With the third most cap space of any team in the NFL at just a shade below $30 million, the Bengals have some room to negotiate.
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