The Cincinnati Bengals made a trio of roster moves ahead of Day 4 of training camp.
On Monday, the team announced free agent defensive back Cedric Thompson had been signed. In a corresponding move, the team waived kicker Jonathan Brown.
The Bengals also announced that running back Jarveon Williams has passed his physical and is cleared to practice. Williams had been on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list since the start of training camp after failing his physical.
Thompson was signed after the Bengals lost safeties Derron Smith and George Iloka to injuries on Sunday. There’s still no word on when both players will be able to return, so it made sense for the Bengals to sign another safety.
Originally a fifth-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in the 2015 NFL Draft, Thompson has bounced around the NFL with several teams, including spending nine games on the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad in 2016. The Vikings waived him on May 4 of this year, and he’s been waiting to sign with a new team ever since.
Thompson spent the entire 2015 season on the Dolphins’ practice squad, then joined the New England Patriots for the entire 2016 offseason and two preseason games before joining the Vikings.
Thompson had 205 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, five interceptions and three forced fumbles in three seasons at University of Minnesota, starting all 13 games at safety in 2014. He’s more of a free safety, measuring in at 6-foot, 215 pounds, but he was good enough in college at Minnesota to play either spot.
Depending on how long Smith and Iloka are out, Thompson could suddenly become a darkhorse candidate to make the final 53-man roster. For now, he’ll be battling Clayton Fejedelem for backup snaps in camp with Shawn Williams and Joshua Shaw assuming the starting safety spots.
Brown, who was entering his second year with the Bengals, was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Louisville in 2016. He was a former soccer standout that began playing football as a senior, so he’s still very raw when it comes to kicking in American football. In fact, he’s never kicked a field goal or punt in a college or NFL game. The Bengals were hoping to make Brown a feel-good story, but he really had no chance of making the roster with Jake Elliott and Randy Bullock competing for the kicking role.
Williams, who was signed this year as an undrafted free agent out of University of Texas San Antonio, is now cleared to practice and compete for that last running back spot on the Bengals’ 53-man roster. It’s more realistic for him to earn a spot on the practice squad, and he’ll compete with Tra Carson and Boom Williams for that role.