A player to leave Cincinnati that fans were happy to see gone was former Bengals first-round draft pick cornerback William Jackson III. He is still a free agent after being unceremoniously released by the Steelers this offseason.
Jackson was selected with the 24th overall pick in the 2016 draft. He became a starter in 2017 and remained such until his tenure with the Bengals came to an end in 2021. He appeared in 75 games for the Bengals, grabbing five interceptions and returning one for a touchdown in that time.
Jackson parlayed his time in Cincinnati to a lucrative 2021 off-season contract with the Washington Football Team.
Fortunately for the Bengals, Jackson’s departure led to Mike Hilton’s and Chidobe Awuzie’s arrival in the Queen City.
Unfortunately for Jackson and his new team, his time in Washington did not go as planned. Jackson requested a trade after spending a year and a half in the nation's capital. The now Commanders obliged and shipped the disgruntled corner to Pittsburgh for a conditional seventh-round pick.
While Jackson got his wish to be traded from the Commanders, he never suited up for the Steelers due to a back injury.
It would appear that the former Bengals first-round pick is healthy and receiving interest from multiple clubs but is in no rush to sign with a team.
The future is uncertain for Jackson, but he is still young enough to help a team that needs a man-to-man type of cornerback. He now needs to find the best situation for him to thrive in. Maybe he can have an Eli Apple type of resurgence, proving he can still be a starting defensive back in the league.
Do not count on the Bengals reuniting with Dunlap, Burkhead, or Jackson. But, as the French say, "Nothing is impossible." Nevertheless, it is unlikely that we have heard the last of these free agents with ties to Cincinnati in the NFL.