Before the Bengals even hired a new defensive coordinator, we were teased with some news that could be considered inevitable regarding the fate of linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
V. Burfict cut from Bengals, per report— Andy Furman (@AndyFurmanFSR) February 19, 2019
For about a half an hour, we were wondering if this was actually true.
False Report -- Fake News -- V. Burfict not cut by Bengals, per Bengals @Bengals— Andy Furman (@AndyFurmanFSR) February 19, 2019
We can’t say we blindsided by the prospect of this happening though.
Burfict’s name has been brought up more times than anyone over the last several weeks in regards to which players would be cap casualties in Cincinnati this offseason. 2018 was the worst of his seven-year career thus far in more ways than one, and he’s just a year-and-a-half removed from signing a three-year extension, which was already his third contract in the NFL.
The season started out like how it usually does for Burfict: with suspension. Last March, Burfict got four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing policy. This would be the third year in a row he would be suspended to start a regular season, but not much thought was given to it. Burfict was recovering from a concussion that took him out of a few games near the end of the 2017 season, players seem to get caught for taking the wrong drugs following an injury all the time. At the very least, he’s shown that even thought he hadn’t completed a full season since 2012, he could shake off the rust following his return.
Instead, Burfict looked like a shell of his former self. He’s had issues getting back into shape following extended absences, but this appeared to be much more than that. From a plethora of missed tackles to running himself out of plays, he looked like he had no business being on a football field. He was never the most athletic defender in the second level, but his instincts and play recognition always compensated for that. All of that looked like it was out of whack in all seven games he appeared in last season.
Then, more injuries popped up. A hip problem took him out of two games and then he suffered two concussions in the final weeks of the year. Compounding on everything else, Burfict was banged up and nowhere close to the player he was in year’s past. He still had time to strengthen his reputation on multiple occasions though.
Officially, Burfict has suffered seven concussions since 2013, and those are just the ones that have been documented. Even if he was still playing at a high level, that’s a major cause for concern. But he’s not, and his remaining cap hits for the next two years are not enticing at all compared to who he is now.
To top it all off, Burfict and Marvin Lewis had a very close relationship — closer than most player-coach relationships are. That much was obvious over the years since the day Lewis brought him in as an undrafted free agent in 2012. As long as Lewis was around, Burfict would be as well. Now with Lewis and most of his staff gone, Burfict’s future becomes much more bleak.
It seems like Burfict’s release is a matter of “when” more than a matter of “if”, but nothing is official yet. Would you approve it happening?
Should the Bengals cut LB Vontaze Burfict?
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