Bengals Rumors

Bengals Were Well-Prepared For Vontaze Burfict Suspension

  • The suspension of Vontaze Burfict for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances didn’t come as a surprise to the Bengals. The team was aware of Burfict’s failed test before the regular season ended on Dec. 31 and were waiting for an arbitrator to hear Burfict’s appeal, according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The NFL has yet to comment on Burfict’s suspension, including what he tested positive for and when his appeal will be heard.

AFC Contract Details: Crabtree, Williamson

Here are figures on some of the recent contracts signed around the NFL, with all links going to Twitter unless noted otherwise.

Bengals Likely Done Making Major FA Signings, Could Bring Back Russell Bodine

  • Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer think the Bengals did very well for themselves during the first week of the new league year, and they believe the club is done with its major free agent additions/trades in 2018. One of the reasons the team was so successful is that it did not force itself into an expensive Russell Bodine contract. The market has not developed for Bodine, a four-year starter in Cincinnati, in the way that he thought it would, and he may have to settle for a modest deal. We heard earlier today that he will be making a visit to the Bills, and while the Bengals will have center options in the draft, they could bring back Bodine if his price falls far enough.

Latest On Vontaze Burfict Suspension

  • Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is expected to argue that his four-game performance-enhancing drug suspension should be overturned given that he was using prescription medications to recover from injury after he’d already been ruled out for the season, reports Adam Schefter of If Burfict’s ban is upheld, the remaining $11.3MM guarantee on his contract will void, meaning Cincinnati could potentially move on without any financial consequences. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, Burfict is hoping an arcane section of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement will save him, but the league is unlikely to overturn his suspension.

QB Matt Barkley Signs With Bengals

Andy Dalton has a new backup. Quarterback Matt Barkley tweeted this morning that he has signed with the Bengals. The Bengals have confirmed that it’s a two-year deal.

The 2013 fourth-round pick out of USC has bounced around the league during his five-year career, as he’s had stints with the Eagles, Cardinals, Bears, and 49ers. After being released by San Francisco at the end of the 2017 preseason, Barkley caught on with Arizona this past November. However, he didn’t end up taking the field for his new club.

Barkley received his most playing time back in 2016 with the Bears, when he appeared in seven games (six starts). He ultimately completed 59.7-percent of his passes for 1,611 yards, eight touchdowns, and six interceptions.

Cincinnati has presumably been seeking a backup quarterback all offseason, especially after A.J. McCarron left to take the Bills starting gig. Other than Dalton, the Bengals are only rostering quarterback Jeff Driskel.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals’ Vontaze Burfict Facing Suspension

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Drug policy, according to Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). He’ll presumably appeal, though no hearing date has been set as of this writing. 

Burfict is no stranger to suspensions, but this marks his first potential ban for PEDs. In the past, Burfict has been sidelined for violations of league safety rules.

In the 2016 playoffs, Burfict was penalized for an illegal hit to the head on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, which led to a suspension to start the 2016 season. In 2017, he was handed a five-game ban for a hit made on Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman in the preseason. That suspension was later reduced to three games.

Between injuries and suspensions, Burfict has missed 28 regular season games over the past four years. Still, he is among the very best at his position. Last year, Burfict managed 69 tackles and 1.5 sacks in his partial season.

If Burfict loses his appeal, the guarantees in his three-year, $33MM contract will void, as Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter) notes. If that $11.3MM guarantee is wiped out, the Bengals will have the ability to move on from Burfict – if they want to – without fiscal penalty.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Sign LB Preston Brown

The Bengals have signed linebacker Preston Brown, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). It’s a one-year deal for the Cincinnati native. 

Brown was hoping to re-sign with the Bills on a multi-year deal, Jim Owczarski of the Enquirer writes, but that never materialized. Earlier this month, we heard that the Patriots had interest in Brown, but it’s not clear if that ever came close to happening.

Brown, 26 in October, led the league in tackles in 2017 while playing the third-most defensive snaps (1,180) of any linebacker in the NFL. The former third-round pick has started nearly every possible game (62 of 64) during his four-year career and has never missed a contest due to injury. I had Brown ranked as one of the 50 best free agents available heading into this week.

Brown projects to start at middle linebacker, which will allow Vontaze Burfict to remain at outside linebacker.

The Bengals haven’t had the flashiest offseason in the NFL, but they’ve made some moves of note. This week, they traded for Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn and re-signed tight end Tyler Eifert.

[RELATED: Bengals Depth Chart]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Lotulelei, Bradham, Lewis

Let’s take a look at the details from the latest contracts signed in the NFL:

Bengals To Re-Sign Tyler Eifert

Tyler Eifert will not be leaving Cincinnati. Instead, the Bengals will hang onto him via one-year deal, Adam Schefter of tweets.

Injuries have limited Eifert for much of his career, but when he’s been available, he’s been one of the NFL’s top red zone threats. The Bengals appear to be keen on seeing if their former first-round pick can stay healthy.

Entering his age-28 season, Eifert has missed 41 of a possible 80 regular-season games since coming to Cincinnati. He missed 14 games last season and eight in 2016. But his 2015 work likely garnered him this opportunity from the continuity-centric organization. Eifert amassed 615 air yards and scored 13 touchdowns — the most by any tight end that season. And Eifert missed three games that year.

Doctors cleared Eifert to resume work a few weeks ago after his October back surgery, however. But the Bengals weren’t showing much interest in retaining their injury-prone pass-catcher at that point. Now, one of the top tight ends (ability-wise) is off the market.

While Eifert’s injury trouble may make it difficult for any team to count on him in the near future, or if he’s back on the market a year from now, he’ll have another chance to show the kind of ability he did three years ago. This season figures to be crucial for the Notre Dame product through that lens.

[RELATED: Bengals Depth Chart]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills To Sign A.J. McCarron

The Bills have signed A.J. McCarron, per a team announcement. It’s a two-year deal for the former Bengals signal caller. reports (via Twitter) that it’s a two-year deal worth $10MM, with $6.5MM “upside based on playing time.”

McCarron, for now, projects as the Bills’ new starting quarterback following the trade of Tyrod Taylor to the Browns. The 27-year-old only started three career games playing behind Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, but the quarterback certainly looked capable during his time on the field.

In 11 career games, McCarron has completed 64.7-percent of his passes for 920 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. During his brief starting stint in 2015, the quarterback also compiled 31 rushing yards on 14 carries. That season, McCarron started the Bengals’ playoff loss to the Steelers, throwing for 212 yards, one touchdown, and one pick.

Despite his starting inexperience, McCarron was still one of the top-ranked quarterbacks available in free agency. The Broncos and Cardinals had previously been connected to the former fifth-rounder, but both of those teams ultimately added other players at the position. McCarron was ranked 12th in our list of the top-50 free agents, and he was listed fourth in our positional rankings. Earlier today, Zach Links ranked him as the sixth-best remaining free agent.

The Bills presumably signed McCarron as their starting quarterback next season. Other than the free agent addition, Buffalo is rostering Nathan Peterman.

[RELATED: Bills Depth Chart]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.