Vontaze Burfict has been one of the more criticized players since joining the NFL as an undrafted free agent for the 2012 season. He quickly became what seemed to be a foundation piece for the Bengals defense, as his 2012 and 2013 seasons were outstanding.
That was the last time Burfict played a full 16 games for the Bengals. Whether it be injuries or suspensions, the linebacker never could find a way to be that reliable foundation piece Cincinnati needed.
It was clear his antics had also grown tiresome to the league. After he amassed $112,000 fine for unnecessary roughness against the Steelers, the NFL said he would not avoid suspension for anymore offenses similar to the ones he was fined for.
This move isn’t shocking, though. Marvin Lewis was always one of Burfict’s biggest defenders, and when his days were numbered, you had to wonder if the new head coach would be willing to put up with Burfict. The clear answer now is no.
Burfict probably put the nail in his own coffin this past season when he looked like a shell of himself. He looked slower than ever, and especially coming off a suspension, you had to wonder how he conditioned himself to prepare for his return.
Then of course there are the concussions. Burfict has had seven reported concussions since entering the NFL, which begs the question of if he should even return to football.
The Bengals ultimately saved around $5.5 million in cap space by parting ways with Burfict. It was also apparently after the team had tried to trade him away. The hope is that Cincinnati will use that space to bring in another free agent linebacker (on top of Preston Brown) to help address an area that clearly needs all the help it can get.
At the very least, it does help send a clear signal to all the players in the locker room that things will be different for next season.
Do you approve of the Bengals releasing Vontaze Burfict
This poll is closed
Absolutely, he had worn out his welcome
No, it was just a down year, and he could have improved
Yes, his play has clearly declined past the point to put up with the headache he caused
No, I wish they would have kept him because the position is already in terrible shape