It’s felt like the Cincinnati Bengals have had their most active free agency in team history. They’ve almost completely revamped their secondary while also adding talent on the defensive line.
However, with players inbound comes those that must depart. One that was released rather late in the free agency period was eight-year pro Dre Kirkpatrick, a cornerback that brought with him an eight-figure cap hit if retained.
Kirkpatrick was staple for the team’s above average defense during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. While his play had regressed, Kirkpatrick was also plagued with injuries in numerous seasons.
That said, through it all, Kirkpatrick was a favorite of both fans and media.
In his last moment on the team, the veteran was given the respect that fans should hope every organizations shows their players, and he was thankful for it.
“At the end of the day, they showed me a lot of respect. They called me. They could have called my agent. He was very generous about it.”
”I was just happy to get the phone call from them instead of hearing about it from TV or something. That was a sign of respect. I was able to do what I wanted to do with it. I appreciate everything they’ve done for me. Marvin (Lewis). Mr. (Mike) Brown and his family. As far as giving me the opportunity,” Kirkpatrick told Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson.
With two years left on his contract, the team decided to move on. This doesn’t come as a shocker as the Bengals signed two cornerbacks from Minnesota and still have William Jackson on the roster, but the timing seems rather intriguing.
It was weeks after the team should’ve known what they were going to do with Kirkpatrick’s contract. Even Kirkpatrick asked about that when contacted by the team. He asked Taylor that, and Hobson noted how Kirkpatrick summarized the conversation.
“He gave me a reasonable answer. They were trying to get some things in place before they could do it,” Kirkpatrick noted.