Roster cuts is always a numbers game, but the Cincinnati Bengals should have held onto wide receiver Kendric Pryor for this upcoming season.
The UDFA receiver signed with the Bengals earlier this summer wanting to learn from the Bengals’ elite trio of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. He got his share of opportunities in preseason and made the most of them, yet he ultimately got released on Tuesday as part of the team’s initial roster cuts.
Pryor along with fellow wideout Kwamie Lassiter were set to join Cincy’s practice squad on Wednesday until Pryor got a call: the Jacksonville Jaguars just claimed him off waivers. He was going down south.
Pryor no doubt deserves the opportunity to play his first NFL game and should thrive in Jacksonville under the arm of Trevor Lawrence. For head coach Zac Taylor, cutting Pryor seemed like a necessary move given the team’s positional depth, but down the road, Taylor could end up regretting this decision as the Bengals sadly part ways with a young gem of a receiver.
Cincinnati Bengals should have kept WR Kendric Pryor on the active roster
In Taylor’s defense, he didn’t keep a single UDFA wide receiver and opted to stick with last year’s backups of Stanley Morgan, Mike Thomas, and Trent Taylor.
Pryor looked by far the most impressive wideout on the field in three preseason games, recording 13 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown, and he displayed excellent route-running abilities that would earn him at least a backup spot on several NFL teams — just not the Bengals.
If any of the Bengals’ top three wideouts have to miss time this season, Pryor would have been the obvious plug-in whose ceiling is higher than that of any other current backup. Whereas gadget players like Mike Thomas offer more value on special teams, Pryor flashed his skills as a dynamic and crafty weapon in the passing attack and managed to make the Bengals’ backup quarterbacks look good. Imagine what he could do with Joe Burrow.
The Bengals let one of their most promising offensive talents go in 2022; rather than take the risk of signing an unproven UDFA like Pryor, they chose to play it safe.
That seems to be the hallmark of Zac Taylor’s philosophy, after all — let’s just hope it doesn’t bite the team in the rear this season.