Bengals training camp battles that could end in a veteran's release

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

"Out with the old and in with the new" took on a whole new Bengals meaning this offseason when underperforming Bengals starters were finally shown the door. On the defensive side, notable leaders Domata Peko signed with the Broncos and Ray Maualuga is still hoping to find work. On the flip side, Kevin Zeitler and fan-favorite Andrew Whitworth signed lucrative deals in Cleveland and Los Angeles, respectively.

As we approach the 2017 season, Bengals fans are in a precarious place of objectivity. Never has Marvin Lewis entered a season on the final year of his coaching contract. For this reason, it's easy to believe Lewis and his standard operating coaching procedures may finally be getting a refurbishment. In other words, Marvin Lewis is going to come out of his shell this season and put aside emotional attachment to veterans in an effort to prioritize the best players on the team. Imagine that.

Here are the training camp position battles that might produce a veteran's release.


The Bengals signed Kevin Minter from Arizona to a one-year "prove-it" deal to replace Maualuga. Minter is young and should excel in a 4-3 defense (what he played in college). He is positioned as a play-calling, run-stopping middle linebacker who likes to hit hard. In essence, he's a younger version of Maualuga. Minter received a $2.1 million signing bonus, which is the only guaranteed portion of contract. Because of that, he's unlikely to be released this season (plus there's a lack of true depth at position). But his starting position could be usurped by Vinny Rey or Nick Vigil. Rey can play all three linebacker positions and Burfict isn't being challenged at all. So that means that Minter, Rey and Vigil will be battling for the last two starting positions.

Verdict: Maualuga already cut.


Adam Jones versus William Jackson III. I say Jackson over Darqueze Dennard because it seems WJIII is going to outperform Dennard, locking Dennard and Jones in a battle for the nickel corner slot. If Dennard out performs Jones and wins the nickel slot, we might actually see Jones released. If the Bengals do release Jones, they could spread his cap hit out over the next two seasons. This is a long shot, but worth considering.

Verdict: Jones could be cut.

Defensive Line

Pat Sims versus Andrew Billings (or Ryan Glasgow). Pat Sims will turn 32 this November. He is a big body run stopper but has two young beasts behind him in Glasgow and Billings (plus 27-year-old Brandon Thompson). Glasgow is a skilled interior pass-rusher, having great success at Michigan and should do well in the NFL. If Billings and Glasgow show the coaches they're ready to get to work and make a difference, we might see Sims released early in training camp. Lewis has been known to release capable players he likes early in camp or at least before the roster cut deadline to give them a chance to sign with a new team sooner than later. Such was the case with Brandon Tate in 2016, for example.

Verdict: Sims could be cut.

Michael Johnson and Wallace Gilberry versus Jordan Willis. If the Bengals go through camp with no injuries to defensive ends, then either Johnson or Gilberry will be released (and possibly both). Will Clarke is only 26 and has shown flashes, making him more of an asset than the underperforming Johnson. By cutting Johnson, the Bengals would save $4 million against the cap. This position battle, in my opinion, will be the most interesting to watch unfold.

Verdict: At least one veteran will be cut.

Offensive Line

Russell Bodine versus himself. There's not much I can say about Bodine that hasn't already been said about a bag of marshmallows. But for some reason, the coaches refuse to see what the film shows. This is a make or break year for Bodine. He is in the final year of his rookie deal so if he isn't motivated to prove his worth this season, then he just doesn't have NFL worth. It's unlikely an young players will challenge Bodine in training camp. Short of Bengals somehow signing Nick Mangold, Bodine will be the team's center to start the season. And, with that said, the rest of the offensive line is largely set in stone with Cedric Ogbuehi at left tackle, Clint Boling at left guard, Bodine at center, Andre Smith at right guard, and Jake Fisher at right tackle (good luck to Andy Dalton).

Verdict: No anticipated starters will be cut.

Wide Receivers

Brandon LaFell versus John Ross. If John Ross is ready by training camp and builds obvious chemistry with Dalton, it's a long shot, but LaFell could be released. LaFell signed a two year deal after the 2016 season with only $3.3 million guaranteed. Sure, the Bengals are not the type of team to throw away money, but that contract was offered before drafting Ross and Josh Malone. The question will come down to if the Bengals value that $3.3 million more than one of the young receivers (Cody Core, Alex Erickson, Malone) that wouldn't last a day on the practice squad. It is a long shot, but crazier things have happened.

Verdict: Slim chance LaFell gets cut.

Running Backs

Joe Mixon versus Jeremy Hill. No, there's not a chance Hill gets released.

Verdict: Hill will not be cut.



Bengals Training Camp starts July 28th at 3:00 p.m.

Which veteran do you think has the best chance of being released due to younger talent?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.