As the Bengals were closing in on their first win of the season yesterday, the team was hit with another potential season-ending injury to a player as starting defensive end Jamaal Anderson went down late in the 4th-quarter with what’s believed to be a quad tear.
Anderson had played decently for the Bengals in a fill-in role for the injured Carlos Dunlap, as he had three tackles and a QB hit during the game on Sunday before the injury. With DE/OLB Dontay Moch set to return in Week-5 after his 4-game suspension ends, the Bengals need to find a player to bridge the defensive end depth from now until then. The most likely candidate to fill-in now is DE DeQuin Evans, who is currently on the Bengals practice squad. Mike Brown usually likes to go with the easiest and cheapest option, and Evans fits the bill there.
If they do choose to go the free agency route, Jonathan Fanene is still on the market after playing his entire 7-year NFL career with the Bengals before signing a free-agent deal with the Patriots this offseason, however it was later revealed he had a knee-injury he failed to disclose and was later released. He’s reportedly still rehabbing from the injury, and doesn’t appear to be on the Bengals’ radar.
Free agent DE/OLB Matt Roth is also still on the market. The Bengals showed prior interest in signing him when they hosted him on a free agent visit in April before the NFL Draft. He never signed with an NFL team, so there may be concern he is still worth signing to an NFL contract. He does have prior experience in the AFC north, playing for the Browns from 2009-10.
The smart money is on Evans to get called up this week. He had a good preseason, notching seven tackles and one sack and was one of the final cuts on the final cut-down day. He spent last season on the Bengals practice squad as well, and is the most familiar with Mike Zimmers’ defensive system of any player not currently on the Bengals 53-man roster.