Wharton signed a three-year, $9.78 million deal with Cincinnati during the 2012 offseason, but he only played a total of two preseason snaps in his Bengals career. Clint Boling took over the starting left guard job after Wharton's injury, and he flourished. Cincy selected guard Tanner Hawkinson in the fifth round of April's NFL Draft, and the Kansas product had a strong showing in spring camp. That, combined with Wharton potentially starting fall camp on the physically unable to perform list, gave the Bengals incentive to part ways with the 32-year-old.
Entering his 10th NFL season, Wharton started all 16 games for the Carolina Panthers in 2011. While he's been a proven offensive lineman on the field, he has dealt with injury issues a few times in his career. Before missing all of 2012, Wharton missed seven games in 2010 and 15 games in 2006.