The Cincinnati Bengals finally broke the seal on their 2012 free agency activity, agreeing to terms with guard Travelle Wharton, formerly of the Carolina Panthers. The move addresses a major weakness on the offensive line and comes on the heels of the departure of both Nate Livings and Mike McGlynn who started at guard last season.
Wharton was a third round pick by the Panthers in the 2004 NFL Draft. He started 99 games during his eight seasons in Carolina, including all 16 last season. He was released earlier this week as the Panthers looked to correct their salary cap situation. Wharton would have counted $7.6 million against Carolina's cap this season.
Terms of his deal with the Bengals are not known at this time. Wharton primarily played the left guard position, formerly manned by Nate Livings in Cincinnati. He does have versatility, however, having started some at tackle. The Bengals have long valued that kind of flexibility among their linemen.
That leaves the other guard position open for competition between second year player Clint Boling and Otis Hudson who is heading into his third season in Cincinnati.
The team will also be looking at adding another player in the draft. Stanford's David DeCastro and Georgia's Cordy Glenn are both high on the Bengals' draft board.
In other free agent news, DE prospect Kendall Langford signed with the St. Louis Rams. The Bengals had several visits on Friday, but didn't reach an agreement with any of them. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be coming into town on Sunday and Michael Bush will visit Monday.
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