As the Cincinnati Bengals trimmed their roster down to 53 players Tuesday, a few surprises emerged among those who didn’t make the final preseason cut.
Third-year guard Michael Jordan, a 2019 fourth-round pick who played 27 games over two seasons, was among a group of 20 players waived after beginning training camp with the first-team offense, and veteran defensive tackle Mike Daniels was one of four players whose contracts were terminated.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said both decisions came down to depth at those positions. He came out pleased with the overall roster, noting a strong “football intelligence” among the group.
“I was really happy with the depth of this roster, particularly these last 80 guys that a lot of them we had to have tough conversations with today,” Taylor said. “But really thought that we had good depth and said goodbye to a lot of guys that exhibited all the things that we’re looking for in a Bengal. … Again it led to a lot of tough decisions today a lot of tough conversations, but that’s just the nature of the business and excited to move forward with the guys that we got.”
Jordan dropped to the fifth guard option by the preseason finale Sunday and clearly finished on the bubble, but the team’s decision to trade 2018 first-round pick Billy Price on Monday now means the organization has moved on from two more once highly-touted linemen.
A part of coach Taylor’s first draft class, Jordan was in and out of the starting lineup as a rookie but the team expected more consistency from the former Ohio State player in his second season. Instead, he was best remembered in 2020 for falling back on Joe Burrow on the freak incident that caused his season-ending ACL and MCL tear.
Taylor noted last week he saw the most consistency out of veterans Quinton Spain and Xavier Su’a-Filo. Jordan would have been the fifth guard with rookies Jackson Carman and D’Ante Smith ahead of him in the depth chart.
“Right now there’s 10 (offensive linemen) on the roster, and we feel good about those 10,” Taylor said. “And that was just the number that we’re at right now and again, there’s some depth there, there’s some guys with a lot of potential, there’s veteran guys, there’s a good mixture of things that we’re looking for and we’ll move forward with that group.”
Daniels started 11 games in 2020 but battled injuries and was trying to prove he could still compete at a high level. Once a mainstay on the Green Bay Packers defensive line, he re-signed with Cincinnati this offseason but the Bengals added defensive tackle B.J. Hill in the exchange sending Price to New York and that seemed to push Daniels out.
Hill, a fourth-year player out of North Carolina State University, originally was a third-round pick of the Giants in 2018. He has played in all 48 possible games (17 starts) during his career, and has 102 tackles, 7.5 sacks and three passes defensed.
“BJ is a guy that we had high grades on, think highly of, played against him last year, thought highly of them and we played against him,” Taylor said. “So again, he adds some good depth to that room that we’re really excited about. It did lead to some tough decisions there in that room but ultimately we’re excited to have BJ and what he can bring to the table for us.”
Based on the roster decisions, Mitchell Wilcox won the third tight end spot, likely a nod to his special teams contributions, as Mason Schreck had his contract terminated and Thaddeus Moss, despite a rave review from Joe Burrow on Sunday, was waived. Taylor said all three guys showed well and made for a difficult choice.
Recently signed defensive end Noah Spence and wide receiver Trent Taylor also had contracts terminated. They will become free agents and can still re-sign with the Bengals or another team.
In other moves made Tuesday, offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji and defensive end Wyatt Hubert, who are both out with pectoral injuries, were placed on the reserve/non-football injury list, and defensive end Joseph Ossai (knee) went on the season-ending reserve/injured list. Hubert and Adeniji will be eligible to return after six weeks.
Depth at defensive end is now more of a concern, especially with Kahlid Kareem suffering an injury Sunday, but a highlight this preseason was the impact of college free agent Darius Hodge, who made the team.
Other waived players include: linebackers Joe Bachie and Keandre Jones, defensive ends Amani Bledsoe, cornerbacks Tony Brown, Antonio Phillips and Winston Rose, punter Drue Chrisman, safety Trayvon Henderson, defensive tackles Kahlil McKenzie and Renell Wren, halfbacks Jacques Patrick and Pooka Williams, kicker Austin Seibert, quarterback Kyle Shurmur, guard Keaton Sutherland, offensive tackle Gunnar Vogel and wide receiver Scotty Washington.
Waived players now must clear waivers before the Bengals could sign them to their 16-player practice squad. There are no eligibility limitations to a team’s practice squad this year.
Sunday, Sept. 12
Vikings at Bengals, 1 p.m., Fox, 1530, 102.7, 104.7