Source: Bengals re-sign OT Eric Winston, maintain depth on line

CINCINNATI -- With longtime offensive tackle Andre Smith likely headed elsewhere in free agency, the Cincinnati Bengals re-signed veteran Eric Winston on Wednesday, according to a league source.

Winston's signing of a one-year deal worth $1.09 million will help the Bengals maintain depth along their offensive line.

An 11-year vet, Winston has been with the Bengals since getting signed off the street late in the 2014 season. Since then, he has served as a valued replacement for starting tackles who have gone down with injuries, such as Smith. Winston also was used the past two seasons as an extra blocker in the Bengals' heavy offensive line sets that included using tackles as additional edge blockers. It's unclear how much the Bengals will be employing their tackles in that capacity this year as Ken Zampese takes over as their new offensive coordinator.

Winston could be part of a training-camp battle with second-year tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher this summer. If Smith does indeed sign elsewhere in free agency as expected, Ogbuehi appears set to enter the 2016 season as the presumed starter at right tackle. Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth will remain at left tackle, right where he has been for the bulk of his 11-year career.

That would mean Fisher and Winston would be the Bengals' lead backups at offensive tackle.

Fisher ended the 2015 season playing H-back, primarily serving as a blocking fullback following an injury to Ryan Hewitt.

In addition to his charge with the Bengals, Winston continues to serve as president of the NFL Players Association.

Winston appeared in 13 games last season and five (including a playoff game) in 2014.

Here's how Winston's deal shakes out, according to a league source:


Cap charge: $1,090,000

Base salary: $985,000

Guaranteed money (in form of a roster bonus): $80,000

Workout bonus: $25,000