The eight-year veteran defensive back has been serviceable for the Bengals, but mediocrity has plagued this organization for some time. Should Dre Kirkpatrick’s tenure with the Bengals end after 2019?
The 29-year-old veteran has had a rough start to the 2019 NFL season. After losing their Week 6 matchup against the division rival Baltimore Ravens, some changes are due. It must begin with a defense that is ranked 27th, 30th, 17th, and 31st in the four major defensive categories.
While the passing defense hasn’t been a complete disaster, the limitations of the secondary have a negative impact on the run defense. If the Bengals were to move on from Kirkpatrick after the season, the team would save nearly $9 million in cap space. He doesn’t have any guaranteed money left on his contract.
If the corners were reliable and trustworthy to leave on an island, defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo could commit more defenders in the box to help against the run. William Jackson III is the best corner on the team and has been pretty much a shut down corner thus far. Clearly, Jackson isn’t a concern and should be a key piece to build around defensively.
Kirkpatrick has been the worst of the Bengals three starting corners. Quarterbacks have been quite successful when targeting the former Alabama defender. He is allowing a QBR of 107.4 when thrown at. Additionally, opposing quarterbacks are 15-26 for 197 yards with two touchdowns and a 57.7 completion percentage when going after him. I am not insinuating Kirkpatrick is the worst corner ever by any means, but this level of play is unacceptable. Kirkpatrick suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s game and was seen with a brace on. An MRI will be completed soon to determine the extent of the injury.
Heading into the offseason, Personnel Executive Bill Tobin will have some tough decisions to make. I believe moving on from Dre Kirkpatrick should be an easy one and a good start in an attempt to repair this bottom-dwelling defense.