Mailbag: Talking running backs and trades

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

We take a few minutes to respond to questions from twitter. Questions surround Bernard Scott, the battle for running back, and if there's a trade possibility for cornerbacks.

Does Bernard Scott get cut once he comes off the Physically Unable to Perform List?

If Scott goes on Reserve/PUP, he'll be ineligible to play for the first six weeks of the regular season. Additionally, the Bengals will receive an exemption from the 53-man roster for up to three weeks (after the initial six weeks) until the team is forced into making a decision. By the tenth week of the regular season, Cincinnati will have to decide whether to release Scott, place him on Injured Reserve (and risk a grievance if he's not really hurt), or activate him on the 53-man roster (another roster decision will be required).

Cincinnati's plan will go like this. It's extremely likely that Scott, who is rehabilitating a season-ending knee injury from last year, will be placed on Reserve/PUP. This grants the Bengals a contingency if there's an injury on the team's running back roster. So by the sixth week -- or into the ninth -- if someone suffers an injury, they have Scott in their pocket.

Otherwise, if everyone is healthy, I'd be surprised if he's activated on the 53-man roster.

Where do we project Daniel Herron on the 53-man roster?

It would be careless to ignore Herron's 81-yard rushing performance against the Tennessee Titans, but like Dane Sanzenbacher against the Falcons, one game rarely secures a bubble player's spot on the 53-man roster. Consider that before Herron's performance on Saturday, he had never averaged more than 3.8 yard/rush in any preseason game that he's played. And during the preseason last year, he averaged 1.7 yards/rush on 25 carries.

Herron was placed on the practice squad last year after final cuts (unable to beat out Cedric Peerman, I might add so what's changed there?). On Oct. 8, Scott was placed on IR and the team actually waited two months -- staying with a three-man roster -- before promoting Herron to the 53-man roster... and that was in response to losing Mohamed Sanu to a season-ending injury. Herron became an effective special teams player with two blocks (one partial) and four special teams tackles. Herron ran the football four times but only generated five yards rushing.

The question is where Herron ranks against Burkhead (assuming that Peerman is a lock). Both are running well, ranked one-two on the team's highest yard/rush average among running backs. Both have played extensively on special teams with Herron adding 17 snaps in both preseason games and Burkhead similarly adding 11.

There is always the possibility that both make the roster and Cedric Peerman is surprisingly axed. Personally, I don't see it. If there was a question about Peerman's chances this year, he'd have more than 11 rushes in two games and he's still doing his part on special teams with 15 snaps.

However, at this point anything is possible and one thing is certain, Herron is most certainly improving.

Does Shaun Prater or Chris Lewis-Harris have any trade value at cut-down day?

No. In fact I'd be surprised if they'd find a partner for any late-round agreement. Final cutdown day is one of the worst days for players losing their respective jobs. There will be hundreds of new players on the free agent market, so teams would rather sit back and watch what unfolds before using a valuable draft pick for a player that may or may not be worth the selection.

I'd argue that if the Bengals keep five cornerbacks, then Prater and Lewis-Harris would be on the outside of the projected 53-man roster -- Adam Jones' trial was continued to Oct. 7, 2013 so no decision is required there in September. Both are eligible for the practice squad and I believe at least one of them will clear waivers to re-join the team in that capacity.

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