After two years and only starting four games, Trae Waynes has been released by the Cincinnati Bengals to clear cap space for other signings. The team made the announcement Monday.
A big money signing in the 2020 offseason, Waynes never lived up to the billing hardly playing due to injury, including a torn pectoral muscle that wiped out his entire 2020 season. Hamstring injuries led to him appearing in just eight games (including playoffs) this season.
Now, the 29-year-old veteran will get a chance to revive his career with another team likely on a cheap one-year deal.
Per Over the Cap, the Bengals will have $5 million in dead money but save $10.8 million this year, giving them more money to spend at other positions.
With Waynes gone, the Bengals do have a hole at the cornerback slot opposite Chidobe Awuzie, but they should address that fairly aggressively through free agency and the NFL Draft.
With how far above expectations Awuzie has performed there has to be some hope the Bengals can get a higher impact player across from him in Cincinnati. If the Bengals are able to secure a cornerback who can play like they expected Waynes to when he was signed, then the defense could quickly go from a very good unit to an elite unit that every other team has to fear.
Depending on how aggressively the CB2 slot is addressed before the draft it could be a spot to watch for the Bengals in the first or second round as they look to get a starter or someone to take over the reins after a more temporary solution at the position.