The Cincinnati Bengals will begin signing players this weekend to the team's practice squad, starting at noon on Saturday when those waived on Friday will be cleared to sign. We present a list of players that are highly likely to sign onto the team's practice squad with some debate.
Micah Johnson: Obviously teams can't have a ninth player (unless he's international) on the practice squad, but Johnson represents slight confusion on our part and we're not exactly sure if he's eligible. Two years ago he spent time on the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs respective practice squads before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad in 2011. He's used those years of eligibility up.
According to the CBA, for a player to receive a third-year of eligibility, the club he's employed with must maintain a full 53-man roster during his tenure on the practice squad. Based on that, we think he's eligible to sign with the practice squad. What happens afterwards, we're unsure. Is he forced to onto the 53-man roster when a roster spot opens? Or does the eligibility rule only apply for when he initially signs to the practice squad?
Because we're not sure, we added a ninth player in case he's not eligible this year. However there's evidence that also hints at him being eligible.
Zac Robinson: Though the Bengals are only two quarterbacks on the active 53-man roster, they'll always keep a third quarterback on the practice squad for insurance. Injuries happen and if that's the case, then Robinson would receive a quick call-up until the injury is either resolved or time allowed to sign a veteran quarterback. Either way Robinson is returning to his stomping grounds from last season.
Otis Hudson: Reports surfaced Friday evening when Hudson was released, the Bengals intended to sign him back to the 53-man roster. Much like Micah Johnson, Hudson spent time on the practice squad in 2010 and 2011. We anticipate that he'll get the call back to the 53 when Kyle Cook officially goes on IR next week.
DeQuin Evans: Until he was placed on IR with a torn labrum in early November, he spent 2011 on the team's practice squad.
Emmanuel Lamur: Bengals coaching staff, especially Marvin Lewis, singled out Lamur during press conferences as a player that's impressed him throughout most of the offseason workouts. Remains a little raw but the Bengals will probably want to continue his development through the practice squad.
Chris Lewis-Harris: Signed prior to training camp in response to Dre Kirkpatrick's knee injury, as well as insurance with uncertainty regarding Leon Hall's rehabilitation and Nate Clements' offseason recovery. Virtually came out of nowhere and played well for someone that didn't want him, signed mostly as a camp body. Played much of the preseason due to injuries with Adam Jones, Jason Allen and Kirkpatrick and played well.
Jourdan Brooks: James Develin is more of a blocker whereas Brooks is slightly more versatile. Develin, like Hudson and Johnson, would be on the practice squad a third season but Brooks is an undrafted free agent with experience running the football. And with injuries hitting the position during preseason, Brooks can come up and carry the rock in a pinch (see Dan Herron below).
Matthew O'Donnell: Failed to beat out Dennis Roland, which tosses a red flag really, really, really high in the air, right? Though in all honesty one shouldn't relate one to the other. Roland spent time during the preseason working at offensive guard, which is something that the Cincinnati Bengals needed this year. O'Donnell is an eight-foot behemoth and they love eight-foot behemoths. Eventually they'll need to dump Roland (or risk a fan insurrection), replacing him with another massive body.
Vidal Hazelton: Hazelton's chances of making the practice squad really depends on what they're planning with Ryan Whalen as the team's seventh receiver. If they intend to keep seven during the regular season, there's no reason to keep Hazelton other than a developmental project. If they trade Whalen, or another receiver on the 53, then they'll want a receiver on the practice squad.
Dan Herron: There's a decent chance that Herron is signed to the practice squad over someone like Jourdan Brooks or Vidal Hazelton. And before the preseason he would have been one of more confident locks. But he didn't have a good preseason, therefore we're not absolutely certain he'll be offered a contract.