It looks like the Taylor Mays experiment won't make it to training camp.
On Saturday, the Cincinnati Bengals announced that Mays had been cut, a surprising move with only one week until training camp opens.
Mays, who played in 14 games with five starts for Oakland last season, had 25 tackles and six pass defenses (tied for sixth on team) in 2015. He was signed by Cincinnati this offseason to a one-year deal worth $840,000 and a signing bonus of merely $25,000.
A four-game suspension to start the 2016 season killed his market, and the Bengals may have decided they're better off moving on without him than waiting for him to come back after the first month of the regular season.
A former second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Mays quickly went from starting safety for the 49ers to trade bait as the hard-hitter was a major liability against the pass. Once traded to Cincinnati, Mays would go on to play 50 games for the Bengals, including an eight-game stretch in 2013 where he played a linebacker/safety hybrid role, filling in for the injured Emmanuel Lamur.
Mays later suffered a season-ending injury at the mid-season point that year. The Bengals wanted to bring Mays back almost as soon as the offseason began in 2015, but Mays wanted to be with former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer in Minnesota while also getting more playing time. He was soon after cut and bounced around the league until finding a role with the Raiders last season.
The Bengals now technically have three roster openings going into next week, though one of those spots is expected to go to Rashaun Simonise, who still needs to pass a physical with the team before he's officially part of the 90-man offseason roster.
That means the Bengals currently have two openings once Simonise is signed, so we should probably expect another signing to take place sometime next week. It's hard to see any reason for the team to go into camp with two vacant roster spots, and there's still some quality players on the free agent market waiting to be signed.
As for the safety depth, the Bengals are down to Derron Smith, George Iloka, Shawn Williams, Floyd Raven and seventh-round rookie Clayton Fejedelem. My guess is they'll use one of those vacant roster spots to add another defensive back, if for no other reason than to be another camp body.