The Cincinnati Bengals got down to 75 players by making both roster cuts and I.R. designations, the latter of which going to Andrew Billings, while Brandon Thompson was placed on PUP.
Billings was placed on season-ending I.R. due to a torn meniscus suffered in training camp. By putting him there before the 53-man rosters are made, Billings is not eligible for the I.R. designation to return later in the year. This is an unfortunate end for the rookie defensive tackle's first year in the NFL.
Drafted in the fourth round out of Baylor in this year’s NFL Draft, Billings was viewed as one of the best nose tackle prospects to come out of this draft. While it's sad for Billings to lose his rookie season, this isn’t a huge loss for the Bengals.
With Billings now out for the year, the Bengals will likely have a defensive tackle rotation of Geno Atkins, Domata Peko, Marcus Hardison and Pat Sims with Hardison also working at end.
As for Thompson, he has been a great backup during his four-year career in the Queen City. That took an unfortunate turn last season when he tore his ACL in Week 17, which has cost him all of training camp, the preseason, and now at least the first six games of the 2016 regular season.
Thompson will be eligible to return to the 53-man roster beginning in Week 7. After six weeks are in the books, the Bengals will have a six-week window for Thompson to begin practicing. If he's unable to practice when this window expires, he will remain on the PUP list for the rest of the season.
Once Thompson does practice, the Bengals will have 21 days to either activate him to the 53-man roster, cut him, or simply keep him on PUP, ending his season.
Since 2013, Thompson has appeared in 36 games, including seven starts during the 2013 season when Atkins went down with a season-ending ACL tear. Thompson finished that season with 1.5 sacks, 23 tackles, and one pass defense. He showed he could be a decent starting tackle in this league, and someone that may have gotten that chance this offseason had he hit free agency healthy.
The Bengals also announced Tuesday that kicker Jon Brown had been taken off I.R., meaning he is no longer part of the team. Brown signed as an undrafted free agent out of Louisville this year, but was placed on I.R. due to a foot injury.
With Brandon Tate being cut and Mario Alford getting the waived/injured designation, the Bengals are now down to 75 players ahead of the Tuesday deadline to do so.