Bengals Make Initial Cuts to 53 Players: Rapid Reactions
By Jack Lane
The Bengals have posted their first round of cuts to get down to 53 players. While there is still much more to come, these are the biggest surprises.
The Bengals have made some shocking moves as they have cut their roster down to 53 men for now. The “for now” component is very important, as there will be many changes to this roster still. However, the initial cuts have been made, and there are certainly some big surprises.
The first move to note is not really a move at all. The Bengals have moved Vontaze Burfict to the reserve/suspended list, which opens up an extra spot for now. This means Burfict will come back, but for now, he is technically not on the roster. The team also moved a few guys to IR, including Cethan Carter. Matt Barkley and Trayvon Henderson are also on IR.
Two of the most surprising cuts came from the veterans. Aside from Ryan Hewitt and TJ Johnson, veterans Josh Shaw and Michael Johnson were waived. The Bengals were always rumored to cut Johnson, but to wait until now is odd. Johnson may return to the team, but for now, his departure makes the front line much, much younger. Shaw was surprising as well, especially with how thin the safety position is. He played well in the preseason, and his versatility was supposedly an asset to the team. Because he was waived/injured, Shaw will end up on IR if he clears waivers. However, this is still a very strange move.
Many of the young players that the Bengals cut were expected to miss the team. However, there are some massive surprises in those players as well. No cuts are bigger to me than KeiVarae Russell. Although he got nicked up in the final preseason game and struggled some, Russell was one of the Bengals’ better defenders throughout the preseason. He would have provided some real depth to the Bengals’ cornerback position.
The other big cut was 5th round rookie Andrew Brown. Of the three 5th round picks, Brown seemed like the safest of all. However, he has been relatively quiet during the preseason, so the Bengals must have felt he wasn’t going to contribute much this season. Instead of Brown, they kept Josh Tupou, a UDFA from last season.
There are also some names not listed in the cuts that may come as a surprise. Most notably, Auden Tate and Cody Core both avoided the ax. For now, the Bengals have decided to keep 7 wide receivers – Tate for his big play ability and Core for his special teams.
The other big surprise comes from the secondary, where the Bengals kept 6 cornerbacks and 4 safeties. Both 5th round corners – Davontae Harris and Darius Phillips – have made the team, which was far from a guarantee. The team also kept Tony McRae at cornerback. Keeping just 4 safeties makes the position a little thin, although it is almost guaranteed that the team will add somebody else from waivers. Brandon Wilson has made the team as the last safety on the team.
There is a lot left to digest before all the roster moves are complete. However, these are just some initial reactions to the Bengals’ first 53-man cuts. O