With an infusion of young talent at linebacker last year, it appeared that Jordan Evans would lose his roster spot. But he was re-signed this offseason to a one-year deal because of what he brings to the special teams unit.
Cethan Carter, who had 16 special teams tackles in 2020, is now with the Miami Dolphins. And Clayton Fejedelem, who was Cincinnati’s special teams captain in 2019, joined the Dolphins last year. That leaves Evans as the player with the experience and athleticism to step up and head Darrin Simmons’ unit.
As we discussed in the video below, Evans could be an important part of the team in 2021, as he will likely become the Cincinnati Bengals’ next punt-protector.
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Recently, Geoff Hobson wrote about how Evans should be one of Simmon’s leaders. He quoted the special teams coach as saying, ”I joked Jordan Evans sits up there in the front of the room in all those meetings and he’s seen the solid protection meeting on punt probably about 15 times... It’s not like he needs that. But the guy sitting in the back row sitting in that meeting for the first time certainly needs it. There are varying levels of knowledge and understanding in the room.”
Hometown: Norman, OK
Experience: five years
In March, Evans re-signed with the Bengals for one year and $1,127,500. His base salary is $990,000.
Evans was an exceptional linebacker at Oklahoma, racking up 281 tackles, including 21 tackles for a loss. His senior year, he did it all with 98 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks, and 4 interceptions that he returned for an impressive 145 yards and 2 touchdowns.
At the professional level, Evans flashed his amazing athleticism in the preseason. It looked like he’d be a major contributor at one point. But his talent never translated to great production during the regular season. He had 38 tackles his first year and 61 his second year, but hasn’t topped 12 tackles his last two years, though he did have 2 sacks last year, including one on former Bengal Andy Dalton.
I LOVE this play design. We line up in a 5 man front dictating the OL to get into 5-0 protection. We attack that by running a 3 man stunt keyed by Carl Lawson's fantastic rip inside. Jordan Evans does a great job to loop around and finish off the sack. pic.twitter.com/zqxJnr1Lul— Sans (@bengals_sans) December 15, 2020
Outlook for 2021
Evans seems to have embraced his role as a special teams player. With that sort of dedication, you can expect him to thrive this year. He has the athleticism and smarts to make a big difference on punt returns. And the fact that Simmons believes he is prepared for that sort of responsibility says a lot.
80%. He’s on a one-year deal with a dead cap hit of $100,000, so nothing is guaranteed. Having said that, the Bengals have a lot of inexperience at linebacker and on the special teams unit. Evans’ knowledge alone should keep him on this team. But he has great physical talent to complement that, so, unless Cincinnati finds a special teams ace off the waiver wire, Evans is very likely to make the team.