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Bengals will check waivers for a sixth linebacker

The Bengals only named five linebackers on the 53-man roster but it doesn't appear to be a permanent thing.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With the Cincinnati Bengals naming only five linebackers on the 53-man roster Saturday, it begged the question: Who would be the sixth?

It wasn't J.K. Schaffer, who we projected as the sixth man in but released Saturday morning. Nope. In fact, once Emmanuel Lamur went on Injured Reserve, the team hasn't figured out who would replace him.

And maybe it was wise to take that approach.

By keeping Dane Sanzenbacher and Ryan Whalen on the 53-man roster, you avoid exposing them to waivers. Keeping seven receivers to account for Andrew Hawkins going on IR with a designation to return, was the only approach. But it required going short at another position.

If they weren't comfortable with what they had at linebacker, why force another player and build the roster from widened perspective -- instead of focusing on the numbers at specific positions.

Once Hawkins goes on IR after 4:00 p.m. this Tuesday, a spot on the 53-man roster will open. If no additional moves have been made by then, the Bengals can acquire a linebacker -- specifically a coverage backer to replace Lamur's role -- through waivers. And head coach Marvin Lewis appears to be going in that direction.