The Cincinnati Bengals' 2023 season has come to a close. They won't be making the playoffs for the first time since the 2020 season, as they finished the season 9-8 and went 1-5 in their division. They still made a playoff push even without Joe Burrow but at the end of the day, this wasn't the Bengals' year.
This game (or a recent game for those who didn't play in Week 18) could have potentially marked the final appearance for these Bengals. For one reason or another, it feels likely that these players won't be back in the Queen City next season.
Irv Smith Jr.
I guess the title does say "played their final game" and Irv Smith Jr. played his final game with the Bengals in Week 15 against the Vikings, which just so happened to be his former team. Smith has been inactive in every game since then and if you watched him play this season, you're not surprised by that.
Smith was signed to be the Bengals' TE1 this year after Hayden Hurst bolted in free agency but Smith proved that not every tight end can benefit from playing with Burrow. He had just 18 catches for 115 yards and one touchdown and was passed on the depth chart by Drew Sample and Tanner Hudson.
The Bengals took a flier on Smith this season and it didn't pan out. Now, they'll be on the lookout for a tight end who can do what they were hoping Smith was going to provide.
Unlike everyone else on this list, Nick Scott is not a free agent this spring. That being said, there is a potential out on his contract in 2024 that's a $2 million cap hit per Spotrac. With how poorly Scott played this season and the fact that he was benched in favor of a third-round rookie, don't be surprised if the Bengals cut bait and move on from Scott.
Scott was signed after the Bengals shockingly lost Vonn Bell in the offseason, meaning they lost both of their starting safeties. Scott and Dax Hill took over for Bell and Jessie Bates and it did not go according to plan. Scott finished the season with a PFF grade of 40.1 and a coverage grade of 33.9. He allowed 20 receptions on 28 targets.
The Bengals young secondary had all sorts of issues and Scott did not do what he was brought to Cincinnati for. That's why he might have just made his final appearance as a member of the Bengals.