The Bengals will release cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, according to ESPN.com’s Ben Baby (Twitter link). The move will save Cincy $8.3MM against the salary cap, giving them even more cash to work with in the second half of the offseason.
Kirkpatrick is just the latest vet to be jettisoned by the Bengals. All in all, they’ve freed up more than $23MM by cutting veterans in the last couple of months.
The Kirkpatrick release doesn’t come as a surprise after the Bengals inked Trae Waynes to a three-year, $42MM deal that will pay him approximately $20MM in 2020. Kirkpatrick, a former first-round pick, should find plenty of interest from cornerback-needy teams, though his market will be somewhat limited since many teams have already addressed that gap.
Since 2012, Kirkpatrick has appeared in 99 games over the course of eight seasons. Last year, his season was cut short by a hyperextended knee injury. He finished out with 33 tackles, one sack, and one fumble recovery in six contests. In 2018, he allowed just 44.4% of the targets thrown his way to be caught, good for the second-best rate in the NFL.
The Bengals will also be moving forward without Darqueze Dennard, who left in free agency to sign with the Jaguars. Waynes will be among their new headliners and he’ll be joined by fellow ex-Viking Mackensie Alexander. Former Titans corner LeShaun Sims will also be in the CB mix.