Waynes was signed by the stripes in the 2020 offseason after having a decent career with the Vikings. He was never a superstar but he was a durable player who was looked at as a good signing at the time of the deal.
Unfortunately for Waynes and the Bengals, it didn’t pan out in the Queen City. He missed the entire 2020 season due to injury and when it came time for the 2021 season to get underway, Waynes wasn’t healthy enough to give it a go the first three weeks of action.
Waynes ended the 2021 season with just five regular-season appearances under his belt with three of them coming in the final few weeks of the season. He appeared in all four playoff games but only on special teams, which is not what Cincinnati paid him $42 million for.
Bengals didn’t let Trae Waynes disappointment hold them back
The Bengals didn’t used to be a team known for making huge moves in free agency so it would have been understandable if this Waynes signing prevented them from being aggressive. That’s been the opposite of what we’ve seen, however.
Last year, the team was very aggressive, bringing in Trey Hendrickson, Chidobe Awuzie, Mike Hilton, Eli Apple, Larry Ogunjobi, and Riley Reiff to help the roster improve. This offseason, they’ve already signed Alex Cappa, Ted Karras, and La’el Collins while also re-signing B.J. Hill.
Teams strike out on free-agent acquisitions all the time and while Waynes was arguably the worst free-agent signing in Bengals history, it’s been good to see that it hasn’t held the organization back from being aggressive. They’ve been really targeting positions of need and helping the team improve.
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It sucks that it didn’t work out with Trae Waynes but sometimes those kinds of lackluster signings happen. The Cincinnati Bengals have remained aggressive though and that’s the biggest takeaway here.