Trae Waynes’ contract named the worst on the Bengals roster
By Kristen Wong
The Cincinnati Bengals have made plenty of sneaky good offseason moves in recent history, but this player bucks the trend.
Cornerback Trae Waynes enjoyed a productive five-year career on the Minnesota Vikings, prompting Cincinnati to sign him in 2020.
The Bengals hoped he would be just as dependable as he was on Minnesota, but Waynes ended up becoming a pitiful disappointment — which, to be clear, isn’t the fault of the Bengals franchise, or even Waynes for that matter.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine listed every NFL team’s worst contract heading into the offseason based on three main criteria: money owed, performance relative to cost, and player mobility.
Per Ballentine, Bengals’ Trae Waynes has the worst deal on the team and would likely be cut this offseason:
"This isn’t an indictment of Trae Waynes’ play or the Cincinnati Bengals’ decision-making. The veteran cornerback just hasn’t been able to stay healthy over the course of his contract. During his limited action, Waynes hasn’t contributed much. He had no interceptions and only one pass defended during the regular season."
Signing Trae Waynes was the Cincinnati Bengals’ worst deal in the past two years
Waynes missed all of 2020 due to a pectoral injury and only played five games in 2021 due to another injury, this time to his hamstring.
The veteran corner failed to record a single interception and only managed 12 tackles and one pass defended in the Bengals’ regular season.
Cincy’s secondary surprisingly formed a solid unit despite Waynes’ continued absence with Chidobe Awuzie, Mike Hilton, and Eli Apple all stepping up throughout the season.
Waynes is currently on a three-year, $42 million dollar contract that will expire in 2023. There’s a fairly good chance Cincinnati plans to release the corner this offseason to save $11 million in cap space.
His injury history speaks for itself, and the Bengals can’t rely on him to bounce back next year when Waynes has only played 246 snaps in the past two seasons.
Trae Waynes is a good example of a well-intentioned signing that simply didn’t pan out for either side. There’s no real remorse here, just a mere shrugging of shoulders and moving on.