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The 5 biggest surprises from Bengals roster cuts

Preseason star Raymond Johnson III was among the most surprising Bengals cuts.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it’s that time again.

The Cincinnati Bengals (and every other NFL team) are making a flurry of cuts to get down to 53 players.

Some moves hardly came as a surprise. Others might not have seemed possible just a few months ago.

Let’s take a look at the most surprising cuts from today.

Trent Taylor

The Bengals decided to go with rookie receiver Charlie Jones as the primary punt returner, favoring potential over Taylor’s five years of experience and 89 career punt returns while also occasionally contributing to the passing game, most notably in the 2022 AFC Championship. The move to cut Taylor was surprising in part because the Bengals opted not to keep Stanley Morgan Jr. (more on him later), and it appeared the Bengals would keep seven wideouts.

Raymond Johnson III

What else could the edge rusher have done to secure a roster spot? He was arguably the Bengals’ best player of the preseason, earning PFF’s third-highest grade for his position. Still, it’s a crowded position, even with Joseph Ossai’s injury. Johnson will probably stick around on the practice squad and hopefully get his shot sooner or later.

Hakeem Adeniji

Somehow it seemed Cincinnati ended up relying on Adeniji in the most crucial moments of the recent playoff runs. And while he didn’t do enough to secure a spot, it still feels strange to see him leave, considering he played the majority of offensive snaps in six of the team’s postseason games over the last two years. Thankfully, the team seems to have enough depth now that the front office believes it has better options.

Stanley Morgan Jr.

Everyone expected the Bengals to keep seven wideouts and for Stanley Morgan Jr. to be the seventh. However, the Bengals opted to keep just six, and Morgan was the odd man out. Despite being a consistent contributor on special teams, the Bengals opted to part with Morgan, who is now a free agent. Hopefully, the Bengals get him on the practice squad.

Tanner Hudson

After performing well in training camp and in the preseason, it appeared Tanner Hudson was likely to make the 53-man roster. But the Bengals opted to keep Drew Sample and Mitchell Wilcox instead to back up Irv Smith Jr. at tight end. Hudson is a vested veteran, so he’s not being exposed to waivers. Look for the Bengals to attempt to sign him to the practice squad this week if he doesn’t sign with another team’s 53-man roster.

Other Notables

Trevor Siemian: The nine-year vet was supposed to easily take the QB2 job, especially with the extra snaps he received on account of Joe Burrow’s injury. Instead, he failed to beat Jake Browning, who didn’t look particularly amazing himself. Siemian, though 31, should still catch on elsewhere.

Drue Chrisman: Just a year after seeing his dream come true, the local kid is out as the starting punter. In his place is sixth-round pick Brad Robbins out of Michigan.

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