3 former Cincinnati Bengals players we’re glad are gone, 3 we wish stayed

Looking back at some of the recent hits and misses from Bengals' free agency.
Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III (30) takes the field during introductions before the
Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III (30) takes the field during introductions before the / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The Cincinnati Bengals have been pretty active in free agency over the past couple of years. The team has added a plethora of players, while also parting ways with several others.

Some of the losses have worked out well for the Bengals, while others have us wishing that the two sides never parted ways. With that in mind, here's a look at three former Bengals players that we're glad are gone and three others that we wish still suited up in the black-and-orange.

Glad they're gone: Irv Smith Jr., Tight end

Things just didn't work out too well for tight end Irv Smith Jr. during his lone season with the Bengals in 2023. The Bengals brought him in after they lost Hayden Hurst in free agency on the heels of losing C.J. Uzomah the previous year, but Smith didn't quite have the impact that the Bengals were hoping for.

Smith caught just 18 total passes for 115 yards and one touchdown for Cincinnati in 2023, and he finished the season as the third tight end on the depth chart. Now, Smith will continue his career in Kansas City in a reserve role behind Travis Kelce, and it's safe to say he won't be missed in Cincinnati.

Wish they stayed: D.J. Reader, Defensive tackle

This wound is still fresh, as Reader just left Cincinnati in favor of the Detroit Lions earlier this month. Reader spent the previous four seasons putting in work on the Bengals' defensive line.

During his four seasons with the team, Reader recorded 123 total tackles, three sacks, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. Reader was one of the better defensive linemen available on the market this offseason, so it makes sense he received plenty of outside interest, but it would have been nice if the team was able to keep him in Cinci.