›› 5 things to know about Bengals loss at Indianapolis
The team also cut three 2017 draft picks, including fifth-round kicker Jake Elliott after Randy Bullock won the job in the preseason.
“There's a lot of data, a lot more data than you're aware of,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters while discussing the decision. “So we have to go by that or else there's no reason to keep track of everything we do. Obviously if it was anything close, Jake would have won the job.”
Fifth-round offensive lineman J.J. Dielman and sixth-round defensive back Brandon Wilson are two of 22 players released today who will be eligible for the practice squad if another team doesn’t claim them on waivers by noon Sunday (Will Clarke joins Winston and Gilberry as the only ones without practice squad eligibility).
The Bengals placed running back Tra Carson and rookie seventh-round tight end Mason Schreck on season-ending IR. Third-string quarterback Jeff Driskel is expected to be placed on IR on Sunday after breaking his right thumb Thursday in Indianapolis.
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Because the Benegals initially carried him on the 53-man roster, Driskel will be eligible to return from IR after eight weeks. Tight end C.J. Uzomah (ankle) could be an IR candidate on Sunday as well.
Also Saturday the Bengals made their second trade of the week, sending cornerback Bene Benwikerie to the Dallas Cowboys for a conditional late-round draft pick in 2019. On Tuesday they dealt linebacker Marquis Flowers to the New England Patriots for a 2018 seventh-round pick.
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The suspensions of linebacker Vontaze Burfict (three games) and cornerback Adam Jones (one) created two extra spots on the 53-man roster for a pair of undrafted rookies in linebacker Hardy Nickerson and tight end Cethan Carter.
This marks the second year in a row and fourth in the last five at least one undrafted rookie has made the 53-man roster. Last year it was Alex Erickson, who survived the cut again as one of seven wide receivers to make the roster.
The last time the Bengals kept seven receivers was 2013.
“Alex has been a productive player every chance he gets to go on the field,” Lewis said. “He's been one of the leading kickoff return players in the NFL in his rookie year, so we feel really good about him as a football player in general and everything we ever ask of him. As we go forward with Cody Core and Josh Malone, we feel like they have really bright futures.”
The list of waived players includes linebackers Byrson Albright, Brandon Bell, P.J. Dawson; wide receivers Chris Brown, Kermit Whitfield, Alonzo Russell; defensive ends Ryan Brown, Clarke and Gilberry; defensive tackles David Dean, Josh Topou and Williams; defensive backs Demetrious Cox and Wilson; offensive linemen Landon Lechler, Cameron Lee, Kent Perkins, Dustin Stanton, Winston and Dielman; running back Jareon Williams; and kicker Elliott.
“Some of these guys will get opportunities here or other places as they move forward and eventually they'll bubble up and be NFL players,” Lewis said. “I feel really good about that. We're not releasing a guy today that likely may not show up somewhere on somebody's roster at some point this season.”
Below is a look at the 53-man roster. Names followed by “(p)” indicate players with practice-squad eligibility; names with (p-e) are eligible for one of the two special extempt spots on the practice squad.
Andy Dalton, AJ McCarron, Jeff Driskel
Running backs (4)
Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard, Joe Mixon
Wide receivers (7)
A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Josh Malone, Cody Core, Alex Erickson
Tight ends (4)
Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft, Ryan Hewitt, C.J. Uzomah, Cethan Carter
Offensive line (9)
Cedric Ogbuehi, Clint Boling, Russell Bodine, Trey Hopkins, Jake Fisher, T.J. Johnson, Andre Smith, Christian Westerman, Alex Redmond
Defensive line (8)
Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, Pat Sims, Michael Johnson, Jordan Willis, Ryan Glasgow, Chris Smith, Andrew Billings
Kevin Minter, Nick Vigil, Vinny Rey, Carl Lawson, Jordan Evans, Hardy Nickerson
Suspended: Vontaze Burfict
Dre Kirkpatrick, William Jackson, George Iloka, Clayton Fejedelem, Shawn Williams, Darqueze Dennard, Derron Smith, Josh Shaw, KeiVarae Russell
Suspended: Adam Jones
Randy Bullock, Kevin Huber, Clark Harris