Bengals Place DT D.J. Reader On IR

SEPTEMBER 29: As expected, the team moved Reader to IR. The veteran defensive tackle will be out at least four weeks. It would not surprise if the timetable is pushed beyond that, but the defending AFC champions are expected to have Reader back this season. Reader suffered an MCL injury that will feature an estimated six-week recovery timetable, Jeremy Fowler of tweets.

SEPTEMBER 27: Tests have revealed D.J. Reader will miss an extended amount of time, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Kelsey Conway. While this is not believed to be a season-ending knee injury,’s Mike Garafolo adds Reader is likely to be shut down for at least a month (Twitter link).

It would seem Reader will be IR-bound. This certainly stings for a Bengals team that had Reader and Larry Ogunjobi during its AFC North title run last season. Ogunjobi is now with the Steelers, leaving B.J. Hill — who re-signed with the Bengals this offseason — as the team’s top defensive tackle.

Although it is a bit early for gleaning too much from advanced metrics, Pro Football Focus has Reader ranked as the NFL’s top interior D-linemen through three games. Reader, 28, left the Bengals’ third contest after early, playing just 18 defensive snaps. But he has been one of the team’s top players since coming over from the Texans two years ago.

As the team began to be active in free agency to supplement Joe Burrow‘s rookie contract, the Bengals gave Reader a four-year, $53MM deal in 2020. The former Texans Day 3 pick has continued his strong play with the Bengals, who have benefited from his top-level run defense. Cincinnati ranked fifth against the run last season; the defending AFC champions are eighth through three games.

Longtime Bengal Josh Tupou, third-round rookie Zach Carter and Jay Tufele round out the team’s D-tackle group. Tupou, who has been with the team since 2017, agreed to a two-year, $3MM deal to stay in Cincinnati this offseason. The Bengals added Tufele, a 2021 fourth-rounder, via waiver claim from the Jaguars just after cutdown day.

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