4. Brandon Tate, Wide Receiver/Returner
Brandon Tate has been the marquee whipping boy for Bengals fans for far too long, and his time in Cincinnati needs to come to an end. The receiver/returner has played for Cincinnati in each of the past five seasons, mainly as the team’s kickoff returner (and occasionally as the punt returner). Clearly an inferior returner to his teammate Adam Jones, Tate has somehow managed to latch onto a spot on the Bengals’ 53-man roster for years, despite being a mediocre returner and having little to no impact in the passing game.
And with young Mario Alford now having a year of experience under his belt, it’s time for the Bengals to make a switch. Adam Jones will likely see a decreased workload at corner due to his age, which could mean that he re-gains the role as Cincinnati’s full-time punt returner. Even if Jones can’t return every punt, Alford has been groomed as Tate’s replacement, and it’s time for the switch to happen–especially given that the Bengals are losing players left and right.
With Terrell Watson and James Wilder Jr. the two newest members of Cincinnati to find a new home, it’s becoming more and more clear that the Bengals are losing valuable talent by keeping players around. And because Tate is no longer even an average returner (career-low 6.3 yards per punt return in 2015 and clearly regressing as a kickoff returner), Cincinnati needs to pull the plug.
Next: 5. Eric Winston