For most players in the NFL, there are two deadlines of significance over the next two weeks. Every team must be under the 75-man roster limit by 4 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday, Aug. 30.
Then teams will be required to be at (or under) the 53-man roster limit by 4 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Sept. 3. Once those are set, teams can begin signing and announcing their practice squad starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4.
For the Bengals, getting down to the 75-man limit should be fairly easy. Like most teams, many of the bottom 15 guys often are being camp bodies who rarely even get reps in practice or in games.
Here’s a look at our projection of the Bengals’ first wave of cuts with the roster currently at 90 players.
WR Michael Bennett
WR Antwane Grant
TE John Peters
TE Matt Lengel
FB Andrew Bonnet
OL Aaron Epps
OL Trip Thurman
OL John Weidenaar
OL Alex Cooper
DL Jack Gangwish
LB Darien Harris
LB Trevor Roach
CB Tony McRae
CB Corey Tindal
S Floyd Raven
The only surprise here is Trevor Roach, who was one the Bengals’ practice squad in 2015 before being promoted to the 53-man roster when Emmanuel Lamur was lost to injury in Week 17.
However, Marquis Flowers and Jayson DiManche are back and healthy, along with new third-round rookie Nick Vigil. Roach can’t even get on the field this preseason with just three snaps so far.
Even with the Bengals’ lack of depth at corner, Corey Tindal and Tony McRae have not shown enough to make it through the first wave of cuts. They’re battling veteran Chykie Brown just to make it to the 75-man cut down.
Floyd Raven has had his moments, but there are just too much better options at safety to keep him on the 75-man roster, let alone the 53-man squad. Jimmy Wilson is quietly having a good camp and could win the final safety spot over Clayton Fejedelem.
There will be at least two, and possibly more receivers cut to get down to 75. Antwane Grant and Michael Bennett can’t even get on the field to show what they’re made of in the preseason, which is an indicator that they’re likely to be the first to go.
Don’t be surprised to see Rashaun Simonise or Alonzo Russell get waived, even though both are vying for practice squad spots. Jake Kumerow is a darkhorse here with his hamstring injury costing him most of training camp and the preseason.
In addition to the aforementioned names, don’t be surprised if Bronson Hill, Joe Licata, or David Dean end up being waived. All of those guys deserve to make it through these cuts, but making those final two or three decisions to get down to 75 players won’t be easy.
Who do you see being among the Bengals’ first wave of roster cuts?