5 significant questions for the Bengals defensive line this season

  • Pay the man
  • Raymond Johnson III
  • First-round hype
  • More sacks
  • Who steps up?
Aug 4, 2022; Cincinnati, OH, USA; The Cincinnati Bengals defensive line participates in drills
Aug 4, 2022; Cincinnati, OH, USA; The Cincinnati Bengals defensive line participates in drills / The Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports
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Did the Bengals make the right call on Raymond Johnson III?

One of the biggest questions surrounding the defensive line is: Did the Bengals make the right decision by releasing Raymond Johnson III? The answer to that question is no. 

Many want to concentrate on this year’s preseason performance from Johnson as proof that he should be a part of the final 53-man roster. Of course, they would be correct. He was arguably the team’s best performer in the preseason.

The edge rusher out of Georgia Southern recorded ten tackles, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one pass defensed. He did this while being the versatile player the organization constantly claims they are looking for. He played well on the edge, at defensive tackle, and even in pass defense. 

However, this is nothing new for Johnson in a Bengals uniform. He performed well enough to make the final 53-man squad last year. He was just as good in 2022, showing the hustle, versatility, and results that should have earned him a place on the initial roster. 

With one spot on the practice squad, the popular opinion was that it would go to Johnson. However, the Bengals must look elsewhere to fill that spot, as the edge defender has signed with the Detroit Lions.

Johnson was right in choosing to test the waters elsewhere. Receiving a fair shot at earning a spot on the Bengals roster was not in the cards for the edge rusher.

Some will say the writing was on the wall for guys like Johnson and Jeff Gunter when the team selected a defensive end in the first round of the 2023 draft. At this point, their chances of making the team became a “numbers game.” Unfortunately for Johnson and potentially the Bengals, the numbers that should count the most, the ones put up on the field, did not.