The Cincinnati Bengals and the rest of the NFL had to trim their rosters down to 53 for the regular season on Tuesday. It’s a tough day for so many players across the NFL, but it really only brings the beginning of the fluidity of what an actual roster will look like. We still have practice squads to fill and players to put on injured reserve.
Before all that activity sets into motion, here are the winners and losers from the Bengals’ final cuts.
Punter Kevin Huber: Huber came into this offseason with the realistic view that he may have played his last down as a Bengal. The team had bounced Drue Chrisman on and off the practice squad for most of 2021, and he came in primed to battle the veteran for his spot. By the end of the preseason, Huber showed he was the safer more consistent option. Chrisman could still end up on the practice squad, but it appears the team is comfortable letting Huber extend his time as the longest tenured Bengal.
Wide receiver/Returner Trent Taylor: On a day where the Bengals cut Kenrdic Pryor, Kwamie Lassiter II, Trenton Irwin and Mike Thomas (the wide receiver), Taylor managed to keep his spot. There was a chance that Taylor could have lost his job if Lassiter or someone else showed more on punt returns than the veteran, but Taylor remains the last man standing from a very crowded bottom wide receiver bubble.
Running back Trayveon Williams: It seems like the Bengals three running backs are set in stone with Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine and Chris Evans after a stellar preseason. Williams’ spot was fairly secure as Cincinnati was likely to keep at least four running backs, but Jacques Patrick gave Williams a run for his money.
Long snapper Clark Harris: Harris was in a very similar situation to Huber this offseason. The Bengals signed Cal Adomitis to compete with the veteran and potentially give Evan McPherson a long snapper to have for the rest of his career since Harris is getting a bit long in the beard. It is fairly likely Cincinnati brings Adomitis back on the practice squad, but he and Huber get at least one more season together.
Loaded wide receiver room: There is a fairly good chance you will see Lassiter, Pryor, Thomas and Irwin catch on with other rosters. The most likely out of this bunch we will see back is Thomas given his familiarity with head coach Zac Taylor and the system. The rest of these guys also showed off as receivers. However, when you get that far down on the depth chart, you need players who can also play special teams at a high level. It is why you should never doubt Stanley Morgan Jr. out of making the roster. He developed into a great gunner on punt coverage, and his value is very underrated there. These guys lost today, but they were able to put plenty of great film out there.
Tight end Thaddeus Moss: His familiarity with Joe Burrow likely got him a shot on the roster to begin with, but he failed to climb the depth chart while he was here. The Bengals are already reportedly bringing in O.J. Howard to replace him. Moss just didn’t seem to do anything great and didn’t provide enough of a playmaking ability to keep him around on the 53-man roster.
Punter Drue Chrisman: Chrisman really had one hell of a preseason, and depending on who you talk to, he may have even out performed Huber. The trouble is the Bengals value familiarity and consistency. If no one picks up Chrisman as their punter he could very well end up back on the practice squad, but he would likely be very high on the poaching list for teams in-season who need a punter. He showed he is a starting caliber punter in this league, but can he secure one of the 32 jobs?