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Bengals waive rookie WR Monty Madaris; sign free agent rookie WR Levonte Whitfield

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The Bengals made two roster moves ahead of Saturday’s training camp practice.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have announced two roster moves ahead of Day 2 of training camp.

The team has waived rookie wide receiver Monty Madaris and signed free agent wide receiver Levonte “Kermit” Whitfield.

Madaris was placed on the Active/PUP list earlier this week due to a hamstring injury. If he clears waivers, he’ll revert to the Reserve/PUP list. He had failed his physical earlier this week upon reporting to camp.

Whitfield (5’8”, 184 pounds) is a rookie out of Florida State who signed with the Chicago Bears as a college free agent on May 11. The Bears waived him on May 14.

Whitfield has been called versatile, a trait the Bengals love, due to his ability to catch, run and do kick returns. At the NFL Combine he ran a 4.44 second 40-yard dash, bench pressed only 8 reps, had a 32.5" vertical jump and a 120" broad jump. He ran the three-cone drill in 7.17 seconds and the 20-yard shuffle in 4.37 seconds.

In three seasons at Florida State, Whitfield recorded 102 receptions for 1,338 yards and 7 receiving touchdowns as well as 16 rushing attempts for 148 yards (9.3 yards per carry average) and 1 rushing touchdown. He also had 77 kick returns for 1,767 yards (22.9 yards per kick return average).

The Bengals are stacked at the wide receiver position and this move is more for roster depth during camp than anything else. Madaris had almost no chance to make the 53-man roster this year, and the same will be true of Whitfield, though, there’s always a chance he makes a surprisingly good impression this summer.

At wide receiver, the Bengals have A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd, Cody Core, John Ross, Josh Malone and Alex Erickson at the top of the depth chart. Third year wide receiver Jake Kumerow was injured in practice with a left ankle sprain on Friday, which may have caused the Bengals to go out and add another receiver to the roster. Kumerow has spent the last two seasons on the practice squad and the severity of his injury is currently unclear.

Here’s an excerpt from Whitfield’s NFL.com draft profile, written by Lance Zierlein:

STRENGTHS

Gadget player who can be activated with jet sweeps, reverses and wide receiver screens. Kicks it into high gear quickly and is dangerous after the catch. Has speed to split two deep safeties from slot. Surprising body control for small receiver and can win the occasional 50/50 down the field. Is short, but with compact lower body. Was used in intermediate routes. Has kick return experience.

WEAKNESSES

Routes are poor and runs them with almost no attempt to fool defenders. Relies on low center of gravity over sink and acceleration. Creates traffic for himself. Slants, outs and crossing routes all drift too low bringing cornerbacks and safeties into play at catch point. Body catcher with small hands.

BOTTOM LINE

Lacks the route savvy and suddenness expected from the slot, but he does have talent after the catch which could appeal to teams looking for a gadget player. Kick return experience helps his cause, but may have to earn his shot as an undrafted free agent.

The Bengals practice at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. It’s unclear if Whitfield is already in Cincinnati and when he’ll participate in his first practice.


Update: Madaris cleared waivers and reverted to the Bengals’ Reserve/PUP list on July 31, but was waived again with an injury settlement on August 1 and is now a free agent.