The Cincinnati Bengals announced on Monday that they've released offensive guard Travelle Wharton.
Wharton signed a three-year deal worth $9.775 million last year, but suffered a season-ending knee injury during the preseason. He was believed to be a candidate for the Players Unable to Perform list. According to Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals save $1.975 million with the move and expands their cap room to $17.669 million.
Wharton appeared on the chopping block ever since Clint Boling replaced him last year, performing admirably in his place. With Kyle Cook and Trevor Robinson competing for the starting job at center, it was written on Sunday that there's a belief that the loser of that competition will be the first backup guard (as well as center) off the bench.
"The thinking is the guy that doesn't start is the first guard-center off the bench," writes Geoff Hobson on Bengals.com reflecting on the competition at center. "If that guy is Cook, who signed a contract extension before the '11 season, the Bengals have to figure out if that's backup money but it would seem well worth it to make sure the middle is covered."
The move also assures, if there was actually any doubt, that Clint Boling will be the first-team left guard this year.