Of all the Bengals’ unrestricted free agents, Chykie Brown might be the one who would have the toughest time convincing the team to give him an extension. Brown was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft and spent most of the duration of his rookie contract with them, earning a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens in 2012.
However, the Ravens struggled to find a place for him in the 2014 season and cut him in early November, which promptly the Giants to pick him up. The Giants released him in September 2015 and he spent the rest of the season away from football. He found a home with the Bengals in 2016, but failed to make much progress climbing up the depth chart before he suffered a knee injury in Week 12 and was placed on Injured Reserve as a result.
Brown turned 30 years old in December and has yet to accomplish much of anything as a member of the Bengals. But, does his experience in the NFL warrant a second chance from the Bengals?
59 games played (6 games started) in 5 seasons: 66 tackles, 10 passes defensed
2016 season stats
5 games played: 2 tackles
Argument for re-signing Brown
$760,000 might seem like a decent amount of money, but it is the absolute least amount of money the Bengals could have paid Brown as a five-year veteran in the NFL. For the Bengals, they made the decision to sign him for what essentially amounts to a very low-risk contract and for such a small amount of money that it didn’t impact the rest of the team’s finances in any considerable way.
Ultimately, Brown is still the same player whom the Bengals felt was worth signing in the first place. With Dre Kirkpatrick currently one of the more high-profile free agents in the NFL, William Jackson III returning from a season on Injured Reserve, Adam Jones dealing with off-field issues and poor on-field play, and Darqueze Dennard developing at the pace of molasses, the Bengals’ cornerback position is very unstable right now. The coaching staff might prefer a veteran presence like Brown’s to help even things out, especially if Kirkpatrick or Jones don’t return next year.
Case against re-signing Brown
Given Brown’s lack of development in 2016 and eventual relegation to IR, it’s hard to think of many reasons why he should be brought back in 2017. There are bound to be plenty of other veteran free agents available who can provide a more effective stabilizing presence, guys who might actually see the field and contribute in a positive way.
At 30-years-old and having shown virtually no promise in 2016, what reason do the Bengals have to re-sign Brown? The Bengals’ cornerback position is crowded enough at the bottom of the depth chart as it is. Furthermore, they have a talented young cornerback in KeiVarae Russell, who recorded an interception in his only defensive snap of his career so far. No one knows if he is going to develop into a starting-caliber player for the Bengals. Regardless, he already looks to be ahead of Brown, despite Brown’s NFL experience.
Brown just hasn’t given the Bengals any reason to expect him to develop further. He took up a roster spot for most of 2016, to do little more than play in a few preseason games and take up space on the bench. It’s unfortunate that he suffered a season-ending knee injury, but he had 11 weeks to make at least some sort of impact before that and failed to do so. There is absolutely no reason why the Bengals need to bring Brown back when they can give his valuable roster spot to a younger, more malleable cornerback like Russell or even someone taken in the later rounds of the draft.
Priority to re-sign: Very low