The Cincinnati Bengals play their final game of the 2023 season and it could mark the end of these players' tenures in the Queen City. What the three players I'll be talking about in this article have in common is that they joined the Bengals this season and could be on their way out after just one year.
The common theme with all three of these players is that they underwhelmed. Two of them were veterans who have spent the first four years or so of their careers with one team and then joined the Bengals in the offseason. The other player was a rookie who was a massive disappointment despite coming in with all sorts of hype.
It's worth noting that two of these players aren't going to be free agents so moving on might not be a guarantee but it feels like the Bengals should part ways.
Irv Smith Jr.
The Bengals lost Hayden Hurst last offseason and they signed Irv Smith Jr. to be their starting tight end. The experiment didn't go so well but not for the reasons we thought it might fail.
Before Smith came to Cincinnati, he was a second-round pick by the Vikings in 2019. Injuries plagued his time in Minnesota and that's why when the Bengals signed him, it felt like he could be productive if the injury bug didn't get to him.
That was not the case for the former Alabama product, as he only had 18 catches for 115 yards and one touchdown in 12 games. Smith was passed on the depth chart by Drew Sample and Tanner Hudson and with him not being under contract next year, it feels like a near certainty that Smith will not be back in 2024.
The Bengals were in a tough spot when both of their starting safeties departed in free agency last year. Dax Hill was always going to replace Jessie Bates but when Vonn Bell also left for a new team, it threw the Bengals off their tracks a bit. They opted to sign Nick Scott, who had played for the Rams during the first several years of his career.
Scott did not live up to the contract he signed, sitting with a lackluster 40.1 PFF grade and allowing 20 receptions on 28 targets. While Scott signed a three-year deal last offseason, there is a potential out on his contract this year so it wouldn't be shocking for the Bengals to part ways with him.
Scott was so lousy that the Bengals threw Jordan Battle, a third-round rookie, out there and let him take his lumps. That payoff will hopefully be worth it next season and beyond but there's no debating that Scott was disappointing and might only play in Cincinnati for one year.
Out of the three players on this list, Brad Robbins is the only one I could see the Bengals not giving up on after just one year. That being said, they should give up on him, as he was brought in to fill a weakness and failed to deliver.
In the 2023 AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs were able to get into field goal range on their final drive of the game because of the lousy punt from Drue Chrisman. That's why the Bengals made it a point to get better at the punter position by spending a sixth-round pick on Michigan's Brad Robbins.
It has not gone well for Robbins in Cincinnati. He's currently in the bottom six in average yards per punt, according to NFL.com and it felt like more often than not, Robbins was shanking his punts and not giving his team much help in the field position battle.
The Bengals wouldn't save much money by cutting Robbins this offseason but they also wouldn't be hit hard by doing so either. They'd save roughly $800k if they cut him before June 1 while only taking a $100k cap hit and would save $900k with a $33k cap hit by doing so after June 1, according to Spotrac.
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