Bengals Rumors

Bengals Rookie DE Wyatt Hubert Out For Season

The Bengals will be without one of their rookies for the entirety of the 2021 season. Defensive end Wyatt Hubert is set to miss the year after tearing a pectoral muscle, ESPN.com’s Ben Baby tweets.

Cincinnati selected Hubert in the seventh round out of Kansas State. Hubert is one of three D-linemen the Bengals chose on Day 3, following fourth-round defensive end Cameron Sample and fourth-round D-tackle Tyler Shelvin. Third-round pick Joseph Ossai also compiled 10.5 sacks from his linebacker position over the past two seasons.

Hubert is coming off a strong junior year. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic reducing the college football season, Hubert registered a career-high 8.5 sacks — third-most in the Big 12 — and 13 tackles for loss. He posted seven sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore in 2019.

Cincy has reshuffled its defensive line over the past several months, trading Carlos Dunlap and cutting Geno Atkins. The team also did not use its franchise tag on Carl Lawson, who joined the Jets. The Bengals extended Sam Hubbard on Sunday, however, and signed breakout Saints pass rusher Trey Hendrickson to start alongside him. Hubert will aim to join this mix in 2022.

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Joe Burrow Will Not Be Placed On PUP List

Joe Burrow‘s recovery from a torn ACL and MCL (and related damage) in Week 11 of the 2020 season continues to go well. The Bengals’ QB participated in OTAs this spring, and the team has announced that Burrow will not open training camp on the PUP list. 

That means, of course, that Burrow will be leading his troops when camp opens on Tuesday, and he will seek to build upon what was a promising rookie campaign. Despite dealing with a porous offensive line, Burrow completed 65.3% of his passes for 13 touchdowns against five interceptions in his ten games last season.

This offseason, Cincinnati reunited Burrow with former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase, generally considered the top receiver in the Class of 2021. In Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd, Burrow has a loaded receiving corps to work with.

Hopefully, they’ve done enough to protect him up front as well. Free agent acquisition Riley Reiff should upgrade the right tackle slot, but while the Bengals drafted three rookie blockers — Jackson Carman, D’Ante Smith, and Trey Hill — they did not add much other proven talent. They did re-up Quinton Spain and recently claimed Lamont Gaillard off waivers from the Cardinals, so head coach Zac Taylor will at least have plenty of players to choose from in his search for a capable front five.

With quality protection for Burrow and running back Joe Mixon, the Bengals’ offense could be among the league’s best in 2021.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 7/26/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here.

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Signed: WR Reece Horn

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • Placed on IR: DT Rob Windsor (out for year)

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

  • Signed: TE Carson Meier
  • Cut with injury settlement: TE Jibri Blount

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: DB Chris Cooper

Tennessee Titans

Bengals, Sam Hubbard Agree To Extension

The Bengals and Sam Hubbard have reached agreement on a four-year, $40MM extension (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Hubbard has been of the few bright spots in the Bengals’ front seven. Now, they’ve got him locked up for years to come.

Hubbard has split time at defensive end and linebacker, racking up 177 tackles and 16.5 sacks since his 2018 debut. Over the last three seasons, he’s proven to be one heck of a third round find. The Bengals hope for similar results from this year’s crop of mid-round linemen — Joseph Ossai, Cameron Sample, and Tyler Shelvin. But, even if they all don’t pan out, they’ll have the 26-year-old leading the charge for years to come.

The bulk of Hubbard’s 16.5 career sacks came in his first two pro seasons. Last year, he had just two, thanks in part to a mid-year elbow injury. The Bengals are counting on him more than ever now that Carl Lawson (5.5 sacks in 2020) has moved on to the Jets.

This year, the Ohio State product will be joined by a number of new faces, including ex-Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson. As a first-time full-time starter, Hendrickson notched 25 QB hits, and 13.5 sacks. Between Hendrickson and continued improvement Hubbard, the Bengals are expecting much better results than last year when they finished one of the worst pass rush units in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dede Westbrook Schedules Seahawks Visit; Vikings, 49ers, Bengals Still On Radar

Dede Westbrook is in Minnesota for a Vikings visit Saturday, but he is still considering interest from other teams. If the Vikings are unable to sign Westbrook, he will pay a visit to the Seahawks, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Westbrook plans to visit the Seahawks on Sunday, veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson tweets.

The former Heisman finalist and Jaguars starter said the 49ers and Bengals are also in the mix; both teams expressed interest in Westbrook earlier this offseason. While both teams and Seattle appear to be on Westbrook’s radar, the Vikings have an edge and appear to be the favorites.

In addition to a need alongside Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, the Vikes employ ex-Jaguars receivers coach Keenan McCardell. The former Jags Pro Bowler and recent Vikings hire coached Westbrook in each of his four Jacksonville seasons and convinced the veteran wideout to visit the Vikings before the Seahawks, Tomasson adds (via Twitter). Seattle initially appeared first on Westbrook’s travel itinerary, but the Vikings now have the first crack at signing him.

I was kind of set on Seattle and he was like ‘Darn you’re not even going to come out and give me a chance? I coached you the past four years and you’re just going to fly out to Seattle and not give Minnesota a shot?’” Westbrook said of a conversation with McCardell (via Tomasson, on Twitter). “... I love everything about the Vikings. I like their offensive scheme; I like the things that they’re doing as far as gidget-gadgets that they have going on. … Just their whole offensive scheme and I think I can fit in perfectly.” 

Westbrook, 27, is coming off an ACL tear. That certainly slowed his market. He intimated that if the Vikings and/or Seahawks do not land him, workouts with the Bengals and 49ers may follow.

The Vikings’ need for a No. 3 wide receiver appears clearer than the Seahawks’. They drafted D’Wayne Eskridge with their top pick (and only pick on the draft’s first two days). The 49ers, however, have a void behind Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Cincinnati features no such vacancy, with its Ja’Marr ChaseTee HigginsTyler Boyd trio essentially locked in. Auden Tate remains on the team as well. The Bengals did lose A.J. Green and John Ross this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals To Meet With Austin Reiter

The Bengals will meet with Austin Reiter on Monday (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). Reiter, who started in back-to-back Super Bowls for the Chiefs, could help to improve the offensive line that did little to protect Joe Burrow in 2020.

The Chiefs tried to keep Reiter in the spring, but their offer wasn’t to his liking. When things stalled, they pivoted to former Rams center Austin Blythe.

Reiter, 30 in November, started 12 games in 2020 and played every single snap in the Super Bowl. The year prior, he saw time in all 16 games. A seventh-round pick of Washington back in 2015, he quickly ended up on the Browns. He only had one career start under his belt when he landed in Kansas City via a waiver claim in 2018. Now, he’s a seasoned vet with 33 starts to his credit.

The Bengals passed up Penei Sewell at No. 5 overall, choosing to fortify their O-Line later on in the draft instead. Now, armed with a new OL coach in Frank Pollack, they’re hoping right tackle Riley Reiff can be a big difference-maker. Reiter, meanwhile, could shore up the interior.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/22/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Poll: Which Rookie Wide Receiver Will Finish With Most Receiving Yards?

This past week we asked you which rookie running back would finish with the most yards in 2021, and now we’re turning our attention to the wide receivers. This year’s wideout class was a great one, with three going in the top ten picks.

Two more then went later in the first round, and then five were off the board in the second. The crop included reigning Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, and LSU star Ja’Marr Chase who was reunited in Cincinnati with college teammate Joe Burrow.

Chase became the first receiver off the board when the Bengals nabbed him with the fifth overall pick. He should already have great chemistry with Burrow, so he’s got that working in his favor. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are still there, but the team moving on from A.J. Green this offseason means Chase should see plenty of opportunity right away. Will his rapport with Burrow and a potentially improved Cincy O-line be enough for him to seize the rookie receiving title?

The following pick, the Dolphins took Jaylen Waddle from Alabama at number six. Waddle is also reconnecting with an old college quarterback as he’ll re-team with Tua Tagovailoa in Miami. His blazing fast speed gives him plenty of upside, although working against him is the fact that he missed a good chunk of the 2020 season due to injury. Will Fuller will have to sit out the first game of the 2021 season with a suspension, but DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki will also be competing for targets.

Smith *also* is getting paired back up with a familiar face under center. The Heisman winner played with Eagles second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts at Alabama. Despite winning the award for best college football player in the country, Smith was the third wideout taken. Will he use that as added motivation and come out with a chip on his shoulder? He certainly shouldn’t struggle for playing time with Philly’s receiving depth chart being thin as ever. Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, and Greg Ward Jr. are all he has to compete with.

The other two first-rounders were Kadarius Toney from Florida to the Giants at 20 and Rashod Bateman from Minnesota to the Ravens at 27. Toney surprised New York by skipping OTAs and apparently might begin the year in a gadget role as he’s buried behind Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram in the pecking order, so he’s got his work cut out for him. Bateman has a path to a breakout with Baltimore in desperate need of receiving help, but the Ravens’ passing game is going to be a wild card.

Elijah Moore was the next big name, with the Ole Miss product going to the Jets at 34. He’s also got upside, but has a few guys ahead of him and will have a rookie quarterback throwing to him. Rondale Moore (Purdue) to the Cardinals at 49, D’Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan) to the Seahawks at 56, Tutu Atwell (Louisville) to the Rams at 57, and Terrace Marshall Jr. (LSU) to the Panthers at 59 round out the rest of the round two receivers.

So, what do you think? Which receiver will rack up the most yards in 2021? Who are the later-round candidates or UDFAs who can join these players as early contributors? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Who Will Be First Head Coach To Lose Their Job?

We know, we know…it’s probably a bit early to speculate about the job security of NFL head coaches. However, let’s not forget Bum Phillips‘ famous (supposed) quote: “There’s two kinds of coaches, them that’s fired and them that’s gonna be fired.”

[RELATED: The Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL]

Even with the start of the NFL season more than a month away, a handful of head coaches already find themselves on the hot seat. Nowadays, it isn’t all that hard to determine which head coaches are at risk of losing their jobs. You can pretty much remove the 12 first- and second-year coaches, and you can definitely remove the successful, long-term coaches (the likes of Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, etc.).

That leaves about 15 coaches with at least two years of tenure but fewer than eight years of tenure (yes, we chose eight to shoehorn Andy Reid into the “definitively safe” section but not the likes of Mike Zimmer). Have those coaches had successful teams? You can remove them from the list. Have those coaches continually shown improvement? You can probably remove them from the list, too. Have those coaches’ teams disappointed or underwhelmed, especially recently? Ding ding ding…those are the coaches on the hot seat.

As we all know, those on the hot seat either redeem themselves and save their jobs or…ultimately get canned. So, that brings us to today’s question: which head coach will be fired first? We used Bovada’s top-three options below, but we’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Matt Nagy, Bears

Following a 12-4 campaign to begin his coaching career, Nagy found his seat getting a bit warm following a disappointing 8-8 campaign in 2019. The former Chiefs offensive coordinator didn’t do a whole lot to inspire confidence in 2020. The team finished 8-8 for a second-straight season, and the former QB whisperer found his passing offense ranking in the bottom-half of the NFL in most categories.

The Bears finally bailed on Mitchell Trubisky this past offseason, and they added a pair of QBs to replace him: veteran Andy Dalton and first-round pick Justin Fields. With a solid defense that’s in win-now mode, Nagy will have to get something out of one of these signal-callers if he hopes to retain his job. Considering Dalton’s recent play and Fields’ inexperience, things are looking bleak.

Zac Taylor, Bengals

It’s easy to put an asterisk on the Bengals’ 2020 campaign following the season-ending injury to Joe Burrow, but there’s no denying that Taylor’s staff has now collected an ugly 6-25-1 record through two seasons. There’s really nowhere to go but up for the head coach, but even if the Bengals improve their record in 2021, the team would still have to pass the smell test. Specifically, we should expect the offensive guru to guide Burrow and the rest of the offense to at least an above-average performance, and it’d be encouraging if the defense was able to show some progress after finishing as one of the worst units in the league in 2020.

As we saw with Marvin Lewis, the Bengals organization values continuity. It’s hard to envision the team not giving Taylor at least another full season, but if the team is unable to show any improvement over 2020, then the 38-year-old could find himself without a job.

Vic Fangio, Broncos

There are a number of things working against Fangio and his future in Denver. For starters, he hasn’t done a whole lot during his two seasons at the helm, leading the team to a 12-20 record. Making it worse, the team took a clear step back in 2020, and with a questionable roster on paper, it’s hard to envision the Broncos getting a whole lot better in 2021.

Next, GM George Paton was only recently hired, so he surely won’t be feeling pressure throughout the 2021 season. However, a disappointing campaign could change things. In that hypothetical, you can bet the executive would be looking to right the ship immediately, and that would probably start with the head coach.

The final factor is the uncertain status of Broncos ownership. If the team is ultimately sold, the new owners would presumably be looking to clean house, at least from an on-field perspective. That means Fangio would surely be handed his walking papers, even if the team did show some progress in 2021.

For reference, the next four head coaches listed by Bovada are Jon Gruden (Raiders), Mike Zimmer (Vikings), Matt LaFleur (Packers), and Mike McCarthy (Cowboys). Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.