Brandon Bell

Bengals Place TE Tyler Kroft On IR

Tyler Kroft will not be making a return from injury this season. The Bengals kept the tight end on their active roster in hopes he would be able to come back from his foot injury, but that won’t happen now.

The team placed Kroft on IR Friday, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com tweets. Cincinnati will promote linebacker Brandon Bell off its practice squad to fill the roster spot.

The Bengals have been operating shorthanded at tight end for most of the season. Tyler Eifert has been on IR for weeks, while Kroft has been on the mend with a broken bone in his left foot. C.J. Uzomah‘s filled in as the starter, and that arrangement will continue.

While Kroft is expected to be healthy in time for free agency, this was not a good contract year. Kroft attempted to avoid surgery in order to play for a Bengals team contending for a playoff spot, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), but he’ll now be out. It appears likely a procedure will occur soon.

In 2017, Kroft stepped in for an injured Eifert and caught 42 passes for 404 yards and seven touchdowns — all far and away career-high marks. Other than his ’17 contributions, Kroft has not contributed much statistically since joining the Bengals as a 2015 third-round pick.

Both Kroft and Eifert are free agents in 2019. While another Eifert injury clouds his future with the team, Kroft sought an extension this summer. That did not end up coming to pass. Kroft caught just four passes this season.

A 2015 fifth-rounder, Uzomah is also a free agent at the year’s conclusion. So, the Bengals will have decisions to make at this position and won’t have much in the way of 2018 work samples on which to do so. Although, these next several games will be key for Uzomah in this regard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/23/18

We’ll keep track of today’s practice squad moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Bengals Trim Roster To 53

For the time being at least, Michael Johnson will not be part of the Bengals’ 53-man roster. The longtime starting defensive end does not appear among Cincinnati’s regular-season contingent, signalling a changing of the guard opposite Carlos Dunlap.

While Johnson could well return, with Cincinnati.com’s Paul Dehner Jr. tweeting this is a possibility because of the team trying to protect as many young players from the waiver wire as possible, he’s again off the roster. Johnson spent a year with the Buccaneers in 2014 but returned to Cincinnati a year later.

He’s been a Bengals starter in five of the past six seasons, but third-round selections of Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson last year — along with 2018 third-rounder Sam Hubbard — made the 31-year-old talent a less important commodity. Johnson registered five sacks last season and has 44 in his career.

As for the rest of the Bengals’ cuts, here are the other players who aren’t on the 53-man roster.

Released as vested veterans:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

The placement of Barkley on IR and the waiving of Woodside leaves Jeff Driskel as the Bengals’ only Andy Dalton backup. It would be logical if the Bengals examined the waiver wire this weekend for a possible signal-caller addition.

Bengals Place LB Kevin Minter On IR

The Bengals placed linebacker Kevin Minter on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. To take his place, they have promoted fellow ‘backer Brandon Bell from the practice squad. Kevin Minter (vertical)

Minter signed a one-year, $4MM deal with the Bengals in free agency this past spring. The Bengals were willing to give Minter a longer deal, but Minter wanted the opportunity to hit the 2018 free agent market. Unfortunately, he did not give himself a great platform for the open market. Injuries limited Minter to just nine games this year and his 32 tackles were the lowest of any of his seasons as an on-field regular.

Before coming to Cincinnati, Minter spent the first four seasons of his career with the Cardinals. He started all 32 regular season games for Arizona in 2015 and 2016 and played the most snaps (1,003) of any Cardinals linebacker last year. In that time, he racked up 81 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and four passes defensed while grading as the league’s No. 25 linebacker, per Pro Football Focus.

Minter will miss the Bengals’ final three games against the Vikings, Lions, and Ravens.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers

Bengals Reach 53-Man Limit

The Bengals officially made 30 moves on Saturday in order to reach the 53-man max. The full rundown is below.

Waived:

Released:

Reserve/Suspended:

The team also freed up a roster spot on Saturday by trading cornerback Bene Benwikere to Dallas for a conditional sixth-round draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Sign 13 Undrafted Rookies

The Bengals have signed a baker’s dozen of undrafted free agents:

Nickerson is the son of Hardy Nickerson Sr., a former Pro Bowl linebacker and NFL coach. The elder Nickerson currently serves as Illinois’ defensive coordinator and that allowed him to coach his son towards the end of his collegiate career. Nickerson Jr. has been lauded for his work ethic, but some scouts question whether he can stick at the next level.

He may get a legacy grade from some teams based on his tackle production and his bloodlines, but I’m struggling to find consistent tape of him where he looks like an NFL linebacker,” a regional scout for an NFC team told NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.

The Bengals already have five running backs under contract, including rookie Joe Mixon, so tailbacks Jarveon Williams and Stanley Williams may be facing an uphill battle as they try to make the final cut.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.