Bengals Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/5/22

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

A number of players who were placed on IR after the preseason and prior to the regular season returned to practice today. These players will have a three-week practice window until they have to be activated to the active roster. Otherwise, they’ll be ineligible to return this season.

One of the most surprising returns is Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton. The former undrafted free agent rode a strong preseason to a potential starting gig, but he was sidelined with second-degree burns after spilling hot oil on his legs and feet. Kliff Kingsbury previously said an early-October return may be a “little aggressive” (per ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss on Twitter), but the cornerback ended up working his way back to practice.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/3/22

Here’s today’s minor moves from around the league, including a couple practice squad elevations for tonight’s NFC West matchup:

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Los Angeles Rams

San Francisco 49ers

2022 NFL Cap Space, By Team

As we exit September, trade rumors will become a steady NFL topic. This year’s deadline falls on Nov. 1. That will return cap-space discussions to the forefront. Here is how every team stacks up financially going into October, via Over The Cap.

  1. Cleveland Browns: $35.94MM
  2. Philadelphia Eagles: $10.89MM
  3. Denver Broncos: $10.67MM
  4. Carolina Panthers: $10.47MM
  5. Las Vegas Raiders: $10.35MM
  6. Dallas Cowboys: $9.25MM
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers: $8.64MM
  8. Green Bay Packers: $8.57MM
  9. Indianapolis Colts: $7.97MM
  10. Atlanta Falcons: $7.92MM
  11. New York Jets: $6.97MM
  12. Chicago Bears: $6.84MM
  13. San Francisco 49ers: $6.75MM
  14. Miami Dolphins: $6.51MM
  15. Arizona Cardinals: $6.25MM
  16. Los Angeles Chargers: $5.83MM
  17. New York Giants: $5.49MM
  18. Jacksonville Jaguars: $5.41MM
  19. Los Angeles Rams: $5.38MM
  20. Baltimore Ravens: $4.51MM
  21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $3.87MM
  22. New England Patriots: $3.5MM
  23. Cincinnati Bengals: $3.16MM
  24. New Orleans Saints: $2.86MM
  25. Detroit Lions: $2.64MM
  26. Washington Commanders: $2.58MM
  27. Buffalo Bills: $2.44MM
  28. Tennessee Titans: $2.41MM
  29. Seattle Seahawks: $2.28MM
  30. Kansas City Chiefs: $2.12MM
  31. Houston Texans: $1.64MM
  32. Minnesota Vikings: $1.47MM

The Eagles’ number is certainly far closer to the Vikings’ last-place figure than what the Browns have stockpiled. Cleveland would stand to have room to augment its 2022 roster, via a patient free agent or a trade. That could depend on where Jacoby Brissett has the team stationed going into the Nov. 1 deadline. But the Browns also appear to be preparing for their Deshaun Watson future. Watson’s unprecedented contract spikes from a $9.4MM cap number (2022) to a record-shattering $54.99MM numbers from 2023-26. As that reality awaits, the Browns rolling over cap space to 2023 would be prudent.

With Sterling Shepard‘s ACL tear moving the veteran wide receiver to IR, the Giants will need to both cover that cost ($6.3MM) and add a contract to fill the roster spot. Every team will go through versions of that issue this season, as injuries pile up. The Giants are prepared to eat a significant chunk of Kenny Golladay‘s 2022 base salary ($13MM) to move him, eyeing an escape from his $4.5MM 2023 guarantee. No takers have emerged, though it will be interesting to see if a market for the former Pro Bowler forms once injuries affect more teams’ receiver situations.

Since their Jimmy Garoppolo restructure, the 49ers agreed to a two-year extension with Dre Greenlaw. The team is not expected to extend Nick Bosa until 2023, however. The Texans, Falcons, Bears and Eagles all sit north of $60MM in dead money, meaning more than a quarter of their respective cap space is tied to players no longer on the roster. Watson, Matt Ryan and Khalil Mack are responsible for massive dead-money hits on the Houston, Atlanta and Chicago payrolls. Philadelphia still has Alshon Jeffery, Malik Jackson and Brandon Brooks dead money on its cap sheet.

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 ESPN.com 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, NFL.com’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.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/27/22

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

New York Jets

Although Ogbuehi is a former first-round pick, he has started five games since the 2018 season. He landed on Houston’s practice squad IR list earlier this month but will be part of the Jets’ scramble to reassemble their tackle depth chart after George Fant‘s IR trip. Ogbuehi’s Bengals audition seasons came back in 2016 and ’17; the Seahawks used him as a fill-in starter in four 2020 games. Ogbuehi, 30, joins Mike Remmers as Jets tackle additions this week.

The Ravens were interested in adding Luketa off the Cardinals’ practice squad, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. That looks to have prompted the Cards’ decision to move him up to their 53-man roster. The Cards drafted Luketa in this year’s seventh round (256th overall) out of Penn State.

Tennessee’s outside linebacker shuffle included waiving Tuszka, who is now with his third team this year. A former Broncos seventh-round pick, Tuszka spent the offseason with the Steelers. He will move to a Chargers team that has Joey Bosa likely to miss games after suffering what Brandon Staley called a serious groin injury.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/24/22

Lots of moves leading into gameday. Remember that players promoted from the practice squad for games will revert back to the practice squad after:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Bengals TE Drew Sample To Undergo Surgery, Miss Months

The Bengals will be without one of their tight ends for a while, perhaps the rest of the season. Drew Sample will be sidelined for “several months” due to knee surgery, Zac Taylor said Wednesday.

Sample suffered the knee injury during the Bengals’ Week 2 loss in Dallas. The fourth-year tight end started in each of Cincinnati’s first two games. This comes at a bad time for Sample, who is in a contract year. Initial tests revealed MCL and PCL damage, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler, who adds this is likely a season-ending injury (Twitter link). Sample will undoubtedly be moved to IR soon.

A former second-round pick, Sample has started 25 games with the Bengals. The team has not viewed the University of Washington product as a pass-catching regular, preferring C.J. Uzomah and Hayden Hurst in those roles in recent years. Sample did catch 40 passes for 349 yards and a touchdown in 2020, however, when he saw action on 81% of Cincinnati’s offensive snaps. He played all 21 Bengals games last season, seeing a 42% snap share.

Cincinnati signed Hurst this offseason and claimed former third-round pick Devin Asiasi off waivers from the Patriots. Third-year UDFA Mitchell Wilcox rounds out the defending AFC champions’ tight end room, which lost Uzomah after the longtime Bengal signed with the Jets in March. The Bengals were connected to O.J. Howard, hosting him on a visit just before the season, but the ex-Buccaneers starter signed with the Texans.

AFC Injury Notes: Ravens, Watt, Bengals

J.K. Dobbins returned to practice today, with the running back hoping to make his long-awaited return to the field this Sunday. The Ravens running back admitted that his injury “wasn’t just a normal ACL,” with Dobbins explaining that he tore his ACL, LCL, hamstring, and meniscus at the end of the 2021 preseason (per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley on Twitter). It’s been just over a year since Dobbins suffered his injury.

“It would mean the world to me if I can go out there this Sunday and play well in front of a full house,” Dobbins said (via Hensley).

Fellow running back Gus Edwards also missed the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL, but thanks to his placement on PUP, he’ll have to sit out the first four games of the season. Still, Edwards took to Instagram to tell fans that he continues to progress in his recovery and eventual return to the field.

“For everybody wondering about my recovery I’m doing great and I’m very close,” Edwards wrote.

More injury notes from around the AFC…

  • The news keeps getting better for T.J. Watt and the Steelers. The star linebacker could recover from his partially torn pectoral muscle within five weeks, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com. There was initial fear that Watt had completely torn his pec, which would have ended his season. The news quickly got better; we learned yesterday that Watt wouldn’t need surgery and could be back within six weeks.
  • Bengals long snapper Clark Harris is expected to miss an extended amount of time after tearing his biceps, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). While Zac Taylor didn’t want to rule out the LS for the season, he did acknowledge that the 38-year-old will miss at least a few months (via ESPN’s Ben Baby on Twitter). Harris, a one-time Pro Bowler, has been with the organization since 2009. Cal Adomitis will get the first shot to replace Harris at long snapper.
  • J.C. Jackson has been listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Chiefs, and Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said earlier this week that the cornerback has a “50-50” shot at playing (per NFL Network’s James Palmer on Twitter). Jackson previously suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss the team’s Week 1 victory over the Raiders. After earning a second-team All-Pro nod with the Patriots in 2021, Jackson joined Los Angeles this offseason on a five-year, $82.5MM deal. Meanwhile, both Chargers wideout Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker (ankle) have been ruled out for Thursday’s showdown.
  • Mac Jones dealt with back spasms following the Patriots‘ Week 1 loss to the Dolphins, but the quarterback continues to improve, according to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi (on Twitter). A source told Giardi that the QB is “doing everything he needs to” in order to be on the field for this weekend’s matchup against the Steelers. Jones and the Patriots offense struggled during the season opener, with the second-year QB guiding New England to only one touchdown.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/12/22

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Los Angeles Chargers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Robinson has been mostly a rotational defensive end with the Seahawks, but the Syracuse product has five sacks in his two seasons. Robinson suffered a knee injury in Seattle’s preseason finale. He can return after four games, though teams only have eight IR-return slots — way up from the pre-COVID NFL but down from the 2020 and ’21 unlimited IR-return setup — this season.

The Seahawks will be without their primary long snapper, Tyler Ott, on Monday night. Ott is out with a shoulder injury. Tinker has been an NFL snapper since 2013, and the veteran specialist has experience with Seahawks kicker Jason Myers. The duo played together in Jacksonville during the mid-2010s.

Week 1 Injury Roundup: Butker, Jones, Higgins, Rookies

Early in its Week 1 matchup against the Cardinals, Kansas City watched their kicker get carted off the field after Harrison Butker slipped on the kickoff following the team’s opening scoring drive, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. The injury brought on speculation that Chiefs safety Justin Reid may be forced to step in for kicks.

Fortunately, Butker’s injury wasn’t serious enough to keep him permanently out of the game as the sixth-year kicker made his way back onto the field at the end the second half to attempt (and convert) a 54-yard field goal. Still, the Chiefs did play it safe with Butker, calling on Reid to attempt two extra points following Butker’s slip. Reid was successful on his first extra point attempt but missed his second, likely leading to Butker’s return on the field.

Butker kicked the extra points for the remainder of the game, but Kansas City did elect to hold him off the field for kickoffs, letting Reid serve as the kickoff specialist for the rest of the day.

Here are a few other injury notes from around the first week of NFL games, starting with today’s matchup down by South Beach:

  • In a rough opening road trip for the Patriots, quarterback Mac Jones was not made available to the media as he was instructed to go to the X-ray room with a back injury, according to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe. The x-rays turned out to be negative, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, but the team will seek further evaluation on his back injury when they return to Foxborough. It’s unclear at what point in the game Jones suffered the injury, but the 24-year-old completed the game without visible issue.
  • Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins exited the game versus the Steelers today with a concussion after receiving a big hit in the second quarter, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Star receiver Ja’Marr Chase produced as expected, but running back Joe Mixon and new tight end Hayden Hurst had to step up in the passing game with Higgins out. If the concussion keeps Higgins out next week, as well, the Bengals will depend on Tyler Boyd, Mike Thomas, Trent Taylor, and Stanley Morgan to make up for Higgins’ lost production.
  • Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season saw three second-round rookies go down with injuries. The Commanders added one big piece to their defense this offseason in former-Alabama defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis. In the first quarter of NFL play for the rookie, Mathis went down awkwardly on his left leg, according to Charean Williams of NBC Sports, and did not return to the game. Mathis immediately reached for is knee and showed a flash of anger as the Commanders’ medical staff diagnosed the situation. Mathis isn’t a starter but, if the rookie is forced to miss significant time with the injury, it should mean more snaps for second-year defensive tackle Daniel Wise.
  • The Vikings also saw a second-round pick go down when former-Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth left the game with a quad injury, according to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune. Injuries have plagued the rookie in the past and, if he is forced to miss more time, the Vikings will likely turn to Chandon Sullivan, Kris Boyd, and fellow rookie Akayleb Evans to fill in.
  • The Giants added rookie wideout Wan’Dale Robinson to their list of injured receivers, along with Darius Slayton and Collin Johnson, as he left the game today with a knee injury, according to Dan Salomone of Giants.com. Robinson had leapt ahead of Sterling Shepard to start the game alongside Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney before suffering the injury. The severity of the ailment is unknown for now, but Shepard should be able to step back into a starting role if Robinson is expected to miss a significant amount of time.