The sudden release of Preston Brown was initially a shocking move for a normally conservative Bengals franchise. But the one thing we know for sure about head coach Zac Taylor is that he is much quicker to make needed roster changes than Marvin Lewis ever was. This certainly supports that argument.
Brown severely underwhelmed this season after the front office gifted him a three-year deal with $4.8M guaranteed at signing. This all started when he reportedly arrived at training camp well over his 240 pound weight goal and never reached a weight close to that. But instead of waiting for the offseason, the Bengals cut their losses with seven games remaining in the season. If there was an intended message there, it was surely sent.
Brown may’ve been a special case here, because looking at the rest of the roster, it doesn’t make much sense to waive too many other players before the season ends. However, when the offseason rolls around, these seven players (all with at least one year left on their contract) could be following Brown’s footsteps out the door.
Andy Dalton: Logically, cutting Dalton in the offseason would be plan B if they fail to trade him before or even during the NFL Draft. Acquiring draft capital for their former quarterback has to be a priority, but it’s possible that they just don’t get the deal they’re looking for in time. One way or another, Dalton being off of the Bengals’ roster next year is all but a guarantee.
Cordy Glenn: Bobby Hart was the tackle this coaching staff chose, Glenn was not. We don’t even know if Glenn is going to play this season, and the team was reportedly listening to trade offers for the eight-year veteran at the trade deadline. Maybe they’ll listen again in the offseason, but regardless, he looks to be on the way out. All of his guaranteed money will be exhausted at the conclusion of this season, making the offseason the prime time to cut him loose.
Jordan Evans: Germaine Pratt’s probably going to be the only linebacker from the current roster to play for the Bengals next year. Evans, a third-year player who’s only played 31 defensive snaps this season, will have one year left on his rookie contract after this season. He won’t be a tough cut to make happen, but in rebuilding the linebacker room, he’ll be a necessary one.
Bobby Hart: Many fans had the 2020 offseason circled on their calendars for when the Bengals can amend their mistake of signing Hart by letting him go. At least in Hart’s case, he hasn’t been quite the catastrophe he was last year. The 2019 version of Hart that they’re getting still isn’t worth the contract the salary they’re paying him, but considering what they have at offensive tackle, they may feel it’s worth giving him another year. Still, if Brown can go, Hart and his $2M in remaining guarantees shouldn’t exactly feel safe.
Dre Kirkpatrick: This has been a move in the making for a bit, but it shouldn’t be guaranteed to happen. Kirkpatrick has two years left on the five-year contract he signed in 2017 with less than $3M in dead money still attached to it after this season, giving the Bengals will have an easy out of this deal. Kirkpatrick is never going to be better than the serviceable cornerback he has been for the past few years, but he still has value. Ridding him would be primarily to add cap space (about $8.5M), so even though it makes sense, let’s not assume he’ll be gone just yet.
C.J. Uzomah: Let’s get a bit scandalous now. Originally, the re-signing of Uzomah was thought to be the smart signing the Bengals made this year; but Uzomah and his pedestrian showing this season shouldn’t go unnoticed. The lack of receiving production can be attributed to poor quarterback play and the play-calling’s unwillingness to feature tight ends in the passing game, that’s fine. But as a blocker, where the Bengals have needed Uzomah, he’s faltered even more. He’s Pro Football Focus’ 10th-worst run blocking tight end this season. If he has no value as a blocker in this offseason, what really is his value? The Bengals can cut him and incur just $2.2M in dead money this offseason.
Billy Price: Though he might be the worst player listed here, Price getting cut with two years left in his rookie contract would cost the Bengals $4.8M in dead money this offseason. Trading him is a possibility, but his value won’t be very high unless he turns into a completely different player for the remainder of the season. And if that happens, the Bengals will be happy to keep him. Price is the least likely to get cut out of all those listed here, but his play surely doesn’t warrant keeping him around.