The Bengals made a splash yesterday by signing Christian Hackernberg to their practice squad. They also signed 10 of their recent cuts.
The other shoe dropped for the Bengals yesterday as they filled out their practice squad, signing 11 players to their taxi squad. A normal squad only has 10 players, but the Bengals get an extra spot because they have Moritz Boehringer. Boehringer is part of the NFL’s “International Pathway Program,” which gives the team a roster waiver to keep an overseas player on the practice squad. He is a developmental tight end who will struggle to make the 53-man roster.
The team signed 10 other players to the practice squad, 9 of whom were already on the team throughout training camp. The most notable signing, though, was Christian Hackenberg, a former second round pick of the New York Jets. With only 2 quarterbacks on the roster and Matt Barkley on IR, the Bengals were rumored to add another QB to the fold.
Hackenberg, however, is a controversial signing, mostly because he has not shown NFL skill at the quarterback position so far. The Jets gave up on him quickly, and the Raiders decided to waive him this season. While the production hasn’t come just yet, the signing to the practice squad makes sense. Hackenberg, theoretically, still has the tools to become a good backup quarterback. The Bengals take a low-risk gamble on a former elite QB recruit by signing Hackenberg.
The 9 other signings were less exciting, but still give the team some good developmental options. In alphabetical order, the remaining players on the practice squad are: DT Andrew Brown, RB Quinton Flowers, FB/TE Jordan Franks, CB C.J. Goodwin, C Brad Lundblade, OT Kent Perkins, CB KeiVarae Russell, WR Kermit Whitfield, and LB Chris Worley.
The two most notable returnees are Russell and Brown. Russell had some really strong performances in the preseason and seemed to be in great position to lock in a backup cornerback spot. A surprise cut, the Bengals still retain Russell in case they need him. Brown, on the other hand, was a 5th round pick this season. He got stuck behind Geno Atkins and Ryan Glasgow at DT but has a chance to develop this season on the practice squad.
Among the other players, the Bengals give themselves some depth along the offensive line by signing 2 offensive linemen. Goodwin was a late camp addition but offers some extra depth in the secondary – a weak position for the team. Flowers, Franks, and Worley were UDFAs for the Bengals this season, and get a chance to prove themselves on the practice squad. Lastly, Whitfield has been a camp presence for the Bengals for a few years, making some big plays this season. He just couldn’t crack a deep wide receiver position.
All in all, don’t expect to hear too much from these 11 players this season. A year on the practice squad will hopefully give them the ability to develop and improve heading into 2019.