Bengals Rumors

Bengals Claim TE Thaddeus Moss

Thaddeus Moss did not advance too far down the waiver priority list. The Bengals placed a successful claim on the former UDFA tight end Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Washington waived the second-generation pass catcher last week, doing so after Moss spent his would-be rookie season on IR. Now, the former LSU tight end will reunite with Joe Burrow. Both played their final college seasons in 2019, when the current Bengals quarterback soared to the Heisman Trophy while piloting a passing attack that included Moss, Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall Jr. and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

The son of Randy Moss, Thaddeus has yet to play a regular-season down in the NFL. Washington waived him with an injury designation ahead of last season, and he passed through waivers to the team’s IR list.

A North Carolina State transfer, Thaddeus Moss contributed to Burrow’s 60-touchdown pass total in 2019. The 6-foot-3 junior caught 47 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns. Two of those TDs came in LSU’s championship victory over Clemson. Moss declared for the draft after that season but was not selected in 2020.

This move proves interesting due to the Bengals’ tight end situation and the prospect of it preceding a full-on LSU passing-game reunion. The Bengals have been linked to Chase with their No. 5 overall pick. Burrow is believed to be in favor of a Chase reunion. Cincinnati has Drew Sample and C.J. Uzomah on its roster, but a flier on Moss makes sense.

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Bengals Hire Old DBs Coach Back

  • The Bengals are bringing back a familiar face, but not a player. The team is hiring Louie Cioffi as a defensive quality control coach, via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. That’s significant since Cioffi was in the building as a defensive assistant and defensive backs coach from 1997-2010. His tenure with the team preceded that of even Marvin Lewis, and continued through much of Lewis’ time there. He’s been a DBs coach for numerous teams around the NFL since leaving the Bengals, and is one of few people who can say they spent time in both the recent ill-fated spring leagues, the AAF and XFL.

Bengals Release Giovani Bernard

The Bengals have released Giovani Bernard, per a club announcement. The move will save the team $4.1MM against the 2021 salary cap.

Bernard, 30 in November, still profiles as one of the league’s best pass-catching tailbacks. Last year, he managed 47 catches for 355 yards and three receiving touchdowns — his best line since 2017. Since 2013, Bernard has reeled in 342 grabs for 2,867 yards, good for an 8.4 yards per catch average.

Last year, Bernard saw more carries than expected while Joe Mixon was injured, but he wasn’t all that productive on the ground, gaining 416 yards on 124 carries. Bernard’s always been better known for his receiving abilities, but his 3.4 yards per tote average was well below his career average of 4.0 yards.

The Bengals recently re-upped Samaje Perine, a sign that Bernard would be pushed out of the picture. The veteran was aware of that too — he actually requested his release so that he could hook on elsewhere, according to a source who spoke with Mike Garafolo of NFL.com on Twitter).

Bernard was set to enter his final year under contract with $3.7MM in base salary and a $4.76MM cap hit. The Bengals will save $4.1MM of that sum with $667K in dead money.

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Bengals Open To Geno Atkins Return

Bengals Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin says the team is still open to bringing Geno Atkins back in 2021. The defensive tackle remains unsigned, so he could return on a cheaper deal than his original pact.

Geno is one of the greatest players in franchise history and one of the best defensive tackles of the last decade,” Tobin said (via the team website). “He gave us what he had last year…We’ll see if there are things that can be worked out. If it is, great. If not, I think we’ve got other guys that can fill the role.”

Atkins fought through a shoulder injury throughout 2020. Towards the end, it proved to be too much to play with. He suited up for just eight games in total, and, even when he was healthy, he wasn’t happy about his playing time. His final tally: zero sacks and zero starts. It was a sharp drop from his pre-extension season in 2017, when he finished out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 ranked interior defender.

The Bengals could have had the perennial Pro Bowler under contract through 2022, but his $14.8MM cap hit for 2021 was too much. Instead, they dropped Atkins and his $12.2MM in non-guaranteed money.

Of course, given Atkins’ lack of playing time last year, he may prefer to add to his 75.5 career sacks in a different uniform.

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Bengals To Stay At No. 5?

The 49ers, Eagles, and Dolphins did some serious shuffling last week, but the Bengals don’t seem quite as eager to make a move. Currently armed with the No. 5 overall pick, Bengals Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin believes that he’s poised to land an impact player.

We feel we’re in a good spot. We’re going to be careful not to be overly greedy and get out of a spot where we maybe lose a premier player and we feel like can get one of the premier players in this draft,” Tobin said (via the team website). “We feel there are enough guys with the fifth pick in the draft to get a real guy that we feel comfortable with. And hits in a position of need.”

Unlike other teams near the top of the board, the Bengals aren’t in the hunt for a quarterback. Instead, they can hone in on a promising young target or blocker to aid Joe Burrow. With that in mind, Tobin indicated that he’s fond of Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.

All three are high-level prospects at the top of the draft and guys we feel like could fit us and make us a better team,” Tobin said.

Fortunately, two of those three players should be there for the Bengals at No. 5.

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William Jackson III: “Blessing” To Leave Bengals

William Jackson III is glad to be done with the Bengals. Now with the Washington Football Team, the standout cornerback says it was a “blessing” to leave Cincinnati.

[RELATED: Washington Adds William Jackson III]

Cincinnati, they got some crude fans, man. You know misery loves company. When nothing (is) going good, everybody’s not doing any good,” Jackson said (via 106.7 The Fan). “(WFT) has been nothing but supportive since Day 1. The Bengals, on the other hand, them dudes – they wonder why they’re not winning. I’m happy I’m out of that thing man. It’s a blessing to get away and I wish them the best, but Washington – let’s go from here.

Jackson spent four up-and-down seasons with the Bengals, but saved his best for last. After a so-so 2019, he notched 45 stops, eleven passes defensed, and one interception in his platform year. Then, he parlayed that into a three-year, $40MM deal to join up with Washington and aid them in their bid to return to the playoffs.

The cornerback drew lots of interest on the open market, but his price tag was too rich for the Bengals’ blood. Instead, they pivoted to former Cowboys cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (at about half the price of Jackson’s deal) and ex-Steeler Mike Hilton (for just over 50% of WJIII’s contract).

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Bengals Re-Sign Amani Bledsoe

The Bengals have re-signed defensive end Amani Bledsoe on a one-year contract, per a club announcement. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

[RELATED: Bengals Meet With Ryan Kerrigan]

Bledsoe started his career with the Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2019. The Oklahoma product spent that year on Tennessee’s practice squad, then joined the Bengals during 2020’s training camp. He went on to make the cut and see time in 14 games last year, including four starts. All in all, he tallied 17 tackles and two pass defenses.

The Bengals are expected to continue hunting for edge rushing help in the draft with Carl Lawson and Geno Atkins out of the picture. There’s also the second-wave of veteran free agents to consider. The Bengals weren’t able to land Sheldon Rankins (like Lawson, he chose the Jets instead) but they do have interest in Ryan Kerrigan. Washington’s all-time sack leader turns 33 in August, but he could likely be had on a low-cost, one-year deal. Other notable and available names like Kawann Short and Jurrell Casey could also appeal to Cincinnati.

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Bengals To Re-Sign Mike Daniels

Mike Daniels isn’t going to be a one and done in Cincinnati. The veteran defensive tackle is re-upping on a new deal with the Bengals, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

It’s a one-year contract worth “up to” $2.5MM, Pelissero reports. A fourth-round pick of the Packers back in 2012, Daniels spent his first seven seasons in Green Bay and became a borderline star there. From 2013-17, he had at least four sacks in every season despite weighing over 300 pounds and being primarily a run defender. He made the Pro Bowl in 2017 when he had five sacks and a forced fumble in 14 games.

He had an injury plagued 2018 campaign, and was released the following offseason due to a hefty contract. He was quickly scooped up on a one-year, $9MM deal from the Lions, but injuries limited him to nine games in 2019.

He signed with the Bengals in August of last year, and although he again missed five games, he started the other 11. He had no sacks while playing a less than full-time role. The Iowa product will turn 32 in May.

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Bengals Re-Sign Jordan Evans

The Bengals have re-signed linebacker Jordan Evans to a one-year deal, per a club announcement. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed. 

[RELATED: Bengals Tried To Sign Joe Thuney]

Evans, a 2017 sixth-round pick, has appeared in 60 games over the last four years. In 2019 and 2020, the Bengals used him mostly on special teams. This year, he may have an opportunity to get back into the defensive rotation, especially if linebacker Josh Bynes isn’t re-signed.

Now set to enter his fifth pro season, Evans will look to build on his 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks, seven pass defenses, and two interceptions. Even if he doesn’t see an uptick in snaps, he figures to continue in his key role on special teams. Last year, Pro Football Focus assigned him a special teams grade of 77.6, good for No. 3 on the team. Meanwhile, Cethan Carter, Cincy’s top-ranked ST player, is out of the picture after joining the Dolphins.

 

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