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Bengals cutting veteran WR Brandon LaFell

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The Bengals are parting ways with a projected starting wide receiver.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are cutting Brandon LaFell, as first reported by NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo.

The team later made it official.

“We want to thank Brandon for his contributions to Bengals,” said head coach Marvin Lewis. “He has been a consummate pro and teammate, a strong voice on the team and a great mentor for the young players. We wish him and his family the best in the future.”

The Bengals may have just simply decided to cut LaFell on their own, regardless of what he wanted.

This is a major surprise, as LaFell was expected to retain his spot as a starting wide receiver again this season, but with so much talented youth in Cincinnati, he saw the writing on the wall that it was time for a new team.

Cincinnati picked up veteran receiver LaFell in the spring of 2016 on a one-year deal. He ended up being second on the team in receptions (64) and yards (862), while leading the team in touchdown grabs with six. That came following the losses of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones in free agency.

That solid year earned LaFell a new to-year deal with the Bengals in the 2017 offseason worth $9 million. Unfortunately, LaFell was never been able to even live up to that last year. He struggled mightily to get seperation in the passing game and never was a real threat in anything other than the short passing game. He finished with 52 passes on 89 targets (58%) for 548 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games.

Making matters worse for LaFell is he’s seemingly been outplayed by John Ross, Tyler Boyd and even Auden Tate in training camp thus far. Ross and Boyd should absolutely be playing over LaFell. While Tate and LaFell may not be far apart, Tate does offer something unique as a big jump-ball receiver who could wreak havoc in the red zone.

The Bengals will save almost $3 million by cutting LaFell.

That’s a big thing since the team is working to re-sign Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap to long-term deals that will make them among the highest-paid players at their position.

Some possible landing spots for the veteran receiver include the Bills, Patriots, Cowboys and Browns.

What are your thoughts on the Bengals parting ways with LaFell?