Bengals Rumors

DE Michael Johnson Not Expected To Return To Bengals

The Bengals are not expected to bring back longtime defensive end Michael Johnson, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Dehner Jr. writes

Before the start of the 2018 season, the Bengals released the veteran defensive end only to bring him back on a one-year contract the next day. Johnson filled a big role on the Cincinnati defensive line, soaking up 41 percent of the team’s defensive snaps and starting all 15 games he played in. With Carlos Dunlap, and the emergence of Sam Hubbard, Carl Lawson and Jordan Willis, Johnson was deemed as expendable.

A third-round pick in 2009, Johnson began his career with the Bengals and developed into a solid starter in a five-year run with the team that included an 11.5-sack season in 2012. He moved to Tampa Bay following the 2013 season but spent just one season with the Buccaneers before returning to the Bengals. Since rejoining the team in 2015, Johnson has started 61 of a possible 64 games.

In his 10th season, Johnson was graded as the No. 89 edge defender by Pro Football Focus, a middle-of-the-road mark. His veteran presence and proven production could make him an attractive piece for a team needing a complementary 4-3 defensive end. In 2018, Johnson registered 33 tackles and just a half-sack in 15 games. He did record an interception and his first career touchdown in Week 5 vs. the Dolphins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals To Sign Kerry Wynn

Kerry Wynn is signing a one-year deal with the Bengals, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Giants hoped to keep the defensive lineman, but he’ll ply his craft in Cincinnati instead. 

Wynn spent five years with the Giants and totaled 4.5 sacks in that span. He’s not a household name, but he has the ability to play multiple spots in the defensive line and offers strong special teams help. After tying for second on the Giants with eight special teams stops in ’18, he figures to be an asset for the Bengals in the third facet of the game.

Meanwhile, the Giants will have to look elsewhere for defensive line help after losing out on Wynn and whiffing on Vinny Curry, who returned to the Eagles on Thursday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Host Curtis Riley

With former Giants defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo now in place in the Bengals‘ defensive coordinator, Cincinnati is attempting to corner the market on ex-New York defenders. Having already signed cornerback B.W. Webb and met with defensive end Kerry Wynn, the Bengals sat down with former Giants safety Curtis Riley on Thursday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). A former undrafted free agent and special teamer with the Titans, Riley was forced into a premier role with New York in 2018 and ended up starting all 16 games. He looked overmatched, however, and graded as just the No. 79 safety among 93 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Cincinnati is already set at safety with Jessie Bates and Shawn Williams as 2019 starters, so Riley would likely revert to a special teams role if signed.

Contract Details: Vaccaro, Callahan, Okafor

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFL contracts, with all links going to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle’s Twitter account:

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/21/19

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins

Oakland Raiders

Bengals To Meet With Kerry Wynn

Kerry Wynn will visit the Bengals on Thursday, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Wynn, a versatile lineman and quality special teams player, also has the interest of the incumbent Giants

Wynn, 28, notched 1.5 sacks and 39 tackles while playing both end and tackle last year. For his work in 393 snaps, Wynn graded out as the No. 77 ranked defensive tackle in the league last year, per Pro Football Focus. The Bengals, meanwhile, got solid performances from Geno Atkins (No. 18) and Andrew Billings (No. 38), plus quality support from Christian Ringo, Josh Tupou, Adolphus Washington, and Ryan Glasgow in smaller samples.

The Giants were interested in signing Vinny Curry, but he left the Bucs to return to the Eagles on Thursday. That could ramp up the Giants’ urgency in getting retaining Wynn, but he’ll first hear what the Bengals have to say.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Re-Sign Darqueze Dennard

The Bengals are re-signing cornerback Darqueze Dennard, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Chiefs and a mystery club were also in the mix for him, but the former first-round pick ultimately re-upped with Cincinnati. 

Dennard’s market was slow to develop despite other slot corners receiving lucrative deals around the NFL. His visit to Kansas City late last week marked his first known outside interest of the offseason . Cincinnati was initially willing to re-sign Dennard at around $8.5MM annually, so it will be interesting to see whether the price went up or down.

The Bengals are often reticent to field young players during the early portions of their respective careers, and that was never more evident than in Dennard’s case, as the former Michigan State Spartan played fewer than 600 defensive snaps in his first three pro seasons.

Dennard became Cincinnati’s full-time slot corner in 2017, and saw action on roughly three-quarters of the Bengals’ snaps in each of the past two years. Football Outsiders ranked Dennard 29th among 85 qualifiers in yards allowed per pass attempt in 2018 but just 49th in success rate, while Pro Football Focus graded Dennard as the league’s No. 52 CB.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Ingram, Suggs, Kendricks

Here are the latest details from some agreed-upon contracts during the second wave of free agency. All links courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, unless otherwise noted.

Bengals Release Vontaze Burfict

It’s the end of an era in Cincinnati. On Monday, the Bengals released linebacker Vontaze Burfict

Burfict, one of the league’s most controversial players, has been a pillar of the Bengals’ defense throughout his seven year career.

Over the years, Burfict has helped to anchor the Bengals’ front seven with his hard-hitting style. Unfortunately, his aggression blurred the line when it comes to rules and safety regulations. In seven seasons, Burfict racked up whopping 14 total fines and/or suspensions from the league office, including three times in 2018. Last year, his sanctions resulted from PEDs and hits on Antonio Brown, James Conner, and Andy Janovich. All in all, Burfict lost $4.2MM and ten games for his violations.

By releasing Burfict before the final year of his contract, the Bengals will take on $1.8M in dead money. However, they’ll save $5.5M on this year’s cap. Meanwhile, Burfict should find a decent market for his services, though you can expect teams like the Steelers to pass on him given their history together.

Burfict, 29 in September, went undrafted in 2012 thanks to a bad showing at the combine and rumors of a failed drug test. Quickly, Burfict proved that belonged in the NFL. As a rookie, he compiled 127 stops in 16 games (14 starts) and followed up with a Pro Bowl nod and a league-leading 177 tackles in his second pro season.

When on the field, Burfict is a bonafide difference maker as a middle linebacker. But, because of his issues, Burfict may not garner offers with guarantees beyond 2019 like many of his MLB counterparts have this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Bengals, Darqueze Dennard

Still unsigned, Darqueze Dennard remains an option for the Bengals. But the franchise looks to have given the cornerback a price point. The Bengals have not closed the door on a reunion with the sixth-year cornerback, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, but they have since signed B.W. Webb and retained some of their own free agents. The most recent negotiations between Dennard and the Bengals revealed a disconnect, with the team viewing him as strictly a slot cornerback — and one they may not consider paying at the top-market slot price Justin Coleman just reset with the Lions. Dennard’s camp came in with an offer north of what Coleman just signed, proposing a deal north of $10MM per year with the Bengals, Dehner reports, adding the corner’s representation never came back to the table with the Bengals. The team was willing to keep Dennard at around $8.5MM AAV, but that was before reaching a deal with Webb. The new Bengal corner played for first-year DC Lou Anarumo with the Giants.