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Bengals Release Cornerback Antonio Smith; Now Down to 17 Defensive Backs

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Hey. Did you know? Adam Jones signed. No, it true. Gibril Wilson signed also, giving the Bengals seven cornerbacks and ten safeties. Add all of the players together, as of both signings, the Bengals had 17 defensive backs on roster. Friday afternoon came around and the Bengals announced the release of cornerback Antonio Smith. Joe Reedy writes, "Smith finished last season on the Cincinnati practice squad and was signed to the club’s offseason roster on Jan. 11."

Note: Jones and Brandon Ghee are not officially signed and therefore are not listed on the roster.

As for cornerbacks, the Bengals are back down to six. Behind starters Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall, the Bengals have Morgan Trent, Adam Jones, Brandon Ghee, David Jones and Keiwan Ratliff. Furthermore, based on last year's final roster, the Bengals will likely take five cornerbacks into the regular season. Anyone here think that Ratliff has a shot?

For the sake of argument, the Bengals also took five safeties into the regular season last year. You know that Chris Crocker and Roy Williams are shoe-ins. There's no reason to think Chinedum Ndukwe and Gibril Wilson don't make the squad, though I elected not to claim that they're guaranteed a spot. Presuming they are, the Bengals will have a competition between Tom Nelson, Rico Murray, Jeromy Miles, Kyries Hebert, Bryan Evans and DeAngelo Willingham for that final spot. And most likely, the player that performs best on special teams has the advantage. That's six players fighting for one spot. That's brewing for a nasty position battle come August.