The first major cut of Bengals training camp occurred today, as the team released 3rd-year wide receiver Jordan Shipley. Shipley has struggled thus far in camp coming back from ACL surgery after he tore it in Week 2 of last season against the Broncos.
As a rookie out of Texas in 2010, Shipley led all AFC rookies in receiving yards (600). He was the first Bengal to lead AFC rookies in receiving yards since Darnay Scott in 1994, while also becoming the first Bengal since Carl Pickens in 1992 to win or share the conference’s rookie receptions category. Its tough to see this happen to a player that once had so much potential, but now it appears his NFL career is in question.
His release is a good indicator that the team clearly feels confident with a WR corp of Armon Binns, Brandon Tate, Andrew Hawkins, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Ryan Whalen, and A.J. Green. Whenever Shipley was able to get reps, it wasn’t until after those players got their share of reps. The team also likes what they’ve seen from undrafted free agent WR Justin Hilton, and may be grooming him for a spot on the practice squad. It appears the Bengals wanted to spend more time developing those receivers rather than wait for Shipley to get healthy.
As of now, the Bengals will likely hold on to 6 receivers, with Whalen and Hilton being the odd men out. Both players are eligible to be on the practice squad if they make it through waivers unclaimed, so there’s a chance that all 8 of those players could be with the Bengals in some capacity next season. As for how they’ll rotate those 6 players on gamedays, that remains to be seen, as A.J. Green is the only sure thing for now. If they had a game tomorrow, the top 4 would likely be Green, Tate, Binns, and Hawkins, with the rookies Sanu and Jones battling for the 5th WR spot.
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