After two seasons of below average performance, it’s time for the Bengals to find a way to get rid of Vontaze Burfict
On September 7th, 2017, the Cincinnati Bengals extended the contract of then star linebacker Vontaze Burfict for 3 years and just over $38 million. What’s come after has been nothing short of disappointing. In the last two seasons combined, Burfict has only started 17 games and had a lower tackle count than he did in 2016 alone. So I guess the questions that Bengals fans need to be asking are, why is this happening and what needs to be done for 2019 and beyond?
When analyzing why Burfict’s career has taken such a downhill trend, you have to start by looking at his major issues on and off the field. Since 2016, he’s been suspended twice for illegal hits and once for his usage of PED’s. These hits have not only cost him financially (over $4 million), but they have had a significant impact on his health. The latest concussion that he suffered this past season brought his career total up to 7, and this is extremely concerning for his future not only as an NFL player but as a person. It wouldn’t shock me if he was actually forced to walk away from the league this offseason because of it. In addition to the concussions, he’s faced a plethora of other injuries just due to the fact that he’s forgotten how to tackle the correct way and hurt himself. It’s obvious that the time away from the field due to suspensions and the injury bug have caused him to lose shape and thus underperform.
As the Bengals head into the 2019 offseason looking for a fresh start, it’s time for them to seriously consider finding a way to remove Burfict from the roster. He’s being paid way too much money to be consistently suspended and hurting himself because of poor tackling form. The chances of another team around the league agreeing to any trade for him are fairly low, so the Bengals may be better off just releasing him and taking a slight financial hit. The only other options would be for him to retire or for coach Zac Taylor and his staff to find a way to revitalize his career. No matter what the outcome may be, the Cincinnati Bengals need to make some sort of change to the way they are dealing with Vontaze Burfict.