The Cincinnati Bengals decided to move on from linebacker Kevin Minter this offseason. He has found a new home with the New York Jets.
Inside Linebacker, Kevin Minter was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2013. The second rounder started all 16 games in his last two seasons with the club recording 175 tackles, 16 for a loss, 4 sacks, and a forced fumble. Pro Football Focus had Minter ranked as the fifth best free agent linebacker going into the 2017 free agency.
The Cincinnati Bengals brought in Minter during the 2017 offseason from the Cardinals. He had the second highest in tackles for the Cardinals in 2016. After moving on from Rey Maualuga and Karlos Dansby, Minter was brought in to be a young replacement for Maualuga. Minter was supposed to be a younger and stronger upgrade for Cincinnati.
He played in nine games, starting in seven for the Bengals before being placed on injured reserve. He suffered an elbow injury missing weeks 7-10 and then suffered a hamstring injury in week 14. The shortened season due to injury really kept Minter from being the impact that the Bengals were hoping for.
When Minter was on the field between injuries he was a productive linebacker but the injuries cost him from having a season that would bring him back to Cincinnati. The 27-year-old hauled in 32 tackles during his nine games with the Bengals in 2017. He proved to be just another average replacement in the middle of the Bengals defense when they desperately needed someone that could make big plays.
Cincinnati moved on from Minter as they signed former Buffalo Bills linebacker Preston Brown. Like Minter, Brown is getting a very similar one-year prove it deal with the club. Brown has only 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles in his four years with Buffalo and the Bengals need guys that can cause turnovers. With linebacker Vontaze Burfict facing another possible suspension at the beginning of the season, it could prove to cover a hole in the Cincinnati defense.
Minter will now get a new opportunity as he signs with the New York Jets. He’s familiar working with Jets head coach Todd Bowles as he started his career under him in Arizona. The former second-round pick by the Cardinals will get another opportunity to help build a rebuilding Jets team this year.