Cincinnati Bengals add linebacker to roster, place 2 players on IR

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals might be on their BYE week but that isn’t stopping them from making moves.

On Tuesday afternoon, the team claimed linebacker Clay Johnston off waivers from the Panthers and also placed Brandon Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither on IR. The addition of Johnston was likely because of Davis-Gaither landing on IR, meaning the Bengals needed another linebacker on their roster.

Johnston isn’t a well-known name and has just eight NFL games under his belt. He was a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Baylor by the Rams but never played a down for them. Instead, he’s spent the past year and a half with the Panthers where he’s appeared in all eight of his NFL games.

Johnston has 10 tackles on his resumé for the 2021 season and appeared in a season-high 53% of defensive snaps in Week 7. He’s mostly been used on special teams for Carolina, appearing in 64% of special teams snaps in what ended up being his last game with the Panthers.

Bengals add Clay Johnston, send Wilson and Davis-Gaither to IR

We all figured Brandon Wilson would be done for the year after the injury he suffered in the blowout loss to the Browns. That move now opens things up in the return game, as Wilson was handling kick returner duties.

As for Davis-Gaither, he was having a bounce-back season in 2021 and it’s a bummer to see him have to miss some time. The defense as a whole has been struggling, so this move is even worse when you consider the entire defense is on a downward spiral.

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The Bengals have a BYE this week, which will give Johnston some time to adjust to his new team and what they might ask of him. I wouldn’t expect him to be a major part of the defensive game plan but he could definitely be of use on special teams.