Cincinnati Bengals make final roster decisions

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor said he feels good about the final roster and how the staff evaluated players ahead of cutdown day.

NFL teams had until 4 p.m. Saturday to get their rosters down to 53 players. The Bengals waived 23 players and terminated the contract of vested veteran Brandon Allen, a quarterback who was signed off at the start of training camp as insurance, but there were no major surprises. They are expected to put cornerback Trae Waynes on injured reserve Sunday, which will open another roster spot, and Taylor indicated he will be the only one going on that list.

“I think we found ways to get the full evaluation of the roster,” Taylor said. “That doesn’t mean it was easy and that doesn’t mean there weren’t competitive spots where you would have liked to have kept 55, 56, 57 guys. But I feel comfortable that we managed to find an evaluation and we feel good about our final 53.”

The Bengals kept just two quarterbacks with Jake Dolegala among those waived as well, despite spending all of 2019 on the roster, but Taylor said the team will make a decision in the next 24 hours on whether to sign one or both released quarterbacks to the practice squad.

Other cuts included: running back Jacques Patrick, wide receivers Stanley Morgan, DaMarkus Lodge, Trenton Irwin and Scotty Washington, tight ends Jordan Franks, Mason Schreck and Mitchell Wilcox, offensive linemen Frederick Mauigoa and Josh Knipfel, defensive linemen Freedom Akinmoladun, Amani Bledsoe, Kendall Futrell, Trey Dishon and Kahlil McKenzie, linebacker Marcel Spears Jr., defensve backs Greg Mabin, Winston Rose, Trayvon Henderson, Torry McTyer and Maurice Smith and long snapper Dan Godsil.

Cincinnati has the top claim spot in the waiver order, a position it will hold through Week 3, but Taylor silenced speculation the Bengals might claim former first-round draft pick Josh Rosen, a quarterback the Dolphins released Saturday. Taylor said “that’s not the direction we are headed.”

Once players clear waivers Sunday, the Bengals can sign 16 to the practice squad, and Taylor said the guys who were cut Saturday have an inside track to getting signed.

“I certainly think when they understand your systems, it gives them a leg up,” he said. “It’s going to be an interesting year. There’s going to be unforeseen challenges that come at all the teams at some point that we can’t even guess what those are going to be at this point. So really, 16 additional players on your roster is almost how you look at it since you can bring two of them up on game day to maximize your roster to 55. Even though they’re not on the active roster, the 53, you still look at how all these guys are accessible and you may need them at some point in the season.”

The Bengals helped themselves with on roster decision Friday when they traded linebacker Austin Calitro, who likely was on the bubble of making the team, for Denver defensive tackle Christian Covington.

Defensive line is an area many teams are lacking depth, the Bengals included in that after Josh Tupou opted out and Ryan Glasgow failed a physical and was waived. Taylor noted that Covington is a four-year veteran who the Bengals had tape on and could evaluate despite the lack of preseason games.

“That was a good deal for us,” Taylor said. “Austin Calitro was someone we were positive on. You guys have seen the depth we’re working with at linebacker right now. We feel good about the guys that we ended up keeping there. When it works out to where you can add some depth to a group that you needed some depth at, we feel like it worked out for us. Happy for both teams.”

Taylor said there wasn’t necessarily anyone that earned their spot late in camp. Some of the decisions came down to a numbers game, while others were more obvious based on reps in camp and how they were handling them.

Defensive lineman Andrew Brown was one guy who appeared on the bubble based on his past history with the team but made it after a solid training camp. McTyer seemed like a potential keeper because of injuries at the cornerback spot but ended up among the cuts.

“I think when you look at the final roster these guys have all had good camps from start to finish,” Taylor said. “For me, I think our staff has had such a good hold of this roster going into this training camp that we felt like we knew the areas where there were going to be battles and there were battles. So we still have to identify that early to mid training camp that we gotta make sure that we’re very clear on what our vision is at that position by the end of the cuts. I felt like we had plenty of time to make those decisions and felt good about it.”

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