Darqueze Dennard

Bengals Activate CB Darqueze Dennard

After a long hiatus, Darqueze Dennard is ready to return for the Bengals. The team, which re-signed the former first-round cornerback in March, activated him on Friday, Ben Baby of ESPN.com tweets.

Dennard will take Cordy Glenn‘s roster spot, with the Bengals having suspended their left tackle. This will provide a key cornerback reinforcement for the 0-6 team, especially with both Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson III out against the Jaguars.

Prior to re-upping with the Bengals, Dennard underwent a left knee surgery that was believed to be minor at the time. But he ended up missing the first six games of the season, due to the stay on Cincinnati’s PUP list.

The Bengals re-signed Dennard, their 2014 first-round pick, to a one-year deal worth $4.5MM. He will now have a chance to make an impression in another contract year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals’ Darqueze Dennard Returns To Practice

Darqueze Dennard took a step towards stepping back on the field. On Wednesday, the cornerback was cleared to resume practicing with the Bengals. 

Dennard hopes to return from the left knee injury that landed him on the PUP list. From here, the Bengals have 21 days to use him in practice, without having him count against the 53-man roster limit.

Dennard, a sixth-year pro, has played in 68 games for the Bengals since being selected in the first round of the 2014 draft. In that span, he has 214 tackles, three interceptions, three sacks, 17 passes defenses, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery to his credit.

The Bengals are 0-6 heading into this week’s game against the Jalen Ramsey-less Jaguars.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Trim Roster To 53

The Bengals announced their final 53-man roster. One of the moves will be, as expected, placing Darqueze Dennard on their reserve/PUP list. Dennard now must miss at least the first six games of the season. This comes after the Bengals re-signed their former first-round pick on a one-year, $5MM deal. The team knew Dennard needed a post-signing knee surgery, but the arthroscopic procedure was performed several months ago.

Cincinnati is also placing Jonah Williams on its PUP list instead of season-ending IR. While the first-round tackle was believed to be set to miss the season, this move is a way of retaining a chance he can recover. Williams would revert to IR if he cannot recover from the shoulder injury he sustained this offseason.

Here’s the full list of the Bengals’ moves to meet the 53-man limit:

Placed on Reserve/Injured list:

Placed on the Reserve/PUP list:

  • CB Darqueze Dennard (sixth-year player, Michigan State; knee injury)
  • OT Jonah Williams (rookie, Alabama; shoulder injury)

Released:

Waived:

Suspended:

  • G Alex Redmond (third-year player, UCLA, suspended for four games)

All of the waived players, except for Core, will be practice squad eligible if they clear waivers.

Bengals Notes: Price, Green, Dennard, QBs

After losing starters Clint Boling and Jonah Williams this offseason, the Bengals will have another new first-stringer up front. They are set to bench center Billy Price, a 2018 first-round pick, for veteran Trey Hopkins, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic tweets. This marks a setback in Price’s development. The Ohio State alum struggled as a rookie, playing in only 10 games and grading as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-worst full-time center. A sixth-year UDFA who has made 21 Bengals starts over the past two seasons, Hopkins fared better in 589 snaps in 2018. He graded as PFF’s No. 21 snapper and will parlay that into a Week 1 job.

Additionally, Price’s former Ohio State teammate, fourth-round rookie guard Michael Jordan, will be Cincinnati’s left guard starter. Should an injury befall Hopkins, Jordan or starting left guard John Miller, Dehner adds (via Twitter) Price will return to center.

Here is the latest out of southwest Ohio:

  • Darqueze Dennard is expected to begin the season on the Bengals’ reserve/PUP list, according to Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. The recently re-signed cornerback underwent knee surgery before re-upping with the Bengals. While the team knew Dennard would need surgery after re-signing him, it is certainly a bad sign when a player on a one-year deal will be out at least six regular-season games. Dennard signed for $4.5MM in March.
  • A.J. Green will join Dennard in being out for the start of the season, and it’s uncertain when the perennial Pro Bowl wideout will return. But Hobson adds the Bengals will still attempt to extend Green, who is entering his age-31 season. The Bengals already extended Tyler Boyd. Earlier this offseason, Green expressed a desire to stay in Cincinnati after his 2019 contract year. But that was before he suffered an ankle injury that is expected to keep him out of multiple September games.
  • While Green recovers, a rookie UDFA will take his place. Damion Willis will start alongside Boyd, Zac Taylor said (via Dehner, on Twitter). Willis was part of Cincinnati’s initial post-draft free agent class, signing with the team out of Troy. He has certainly enjoyed a standout preseason.
  • Ryan Finley has commandeered the Bengals’ backup job, and the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Tyler Dragon expects this to push Jeff Driskel off the roster. Driskel has run into hamstring trouble and was making an attempt to show versatility by lining up at wide receiver recently. The former sixth-round pick started five games last season.

AFC North Notes: Jackson, Steelers, Bengals

The RavensLamar Jackson interest began before his junior year at Louisville. It escalated a few weeks before the 2018 draft. During a disagreement among Ravens staffers regarding quarterback preferences going into a draft that would have five QBs taken in the first round, John Harbaugh pronounced his willingness to build a new offense around the dual-threat passer.

If we draft Lamar, I’m good with that,” Harbaugh said during an hours-long discussion about Jackson (via The Athletic’s Dan Pompei, subscription required). “We can build an offense around him. We’ll play great special teams, great defense and be a ball-control offense. We’ll build a big, physical offensive line. We’ll get physical running backs. We’ll block on the perimeter. We’ll run all the elements of the college offense. We’ll do something different.”

After choosing Jackson, the Ravens rode some of Greg Roman‘s Colin Kaepernick-based concepts to a division title. Harbaugh, Roman and then-OC Marty Mornhinweg considered going back to Joe Flacco when the Ravens’ offense stalled for much of their wild-card loss to the Chargers, but each of Harbaugh’s assistants agreed Jackson gave the team the best chance to win. As for the Ravens’ 2019 offense, it will feature similar run designs to what was used last season. But Pompei adds the passing attack was considerably revamped in the offseason.

I expect this to change the way offensive football is played in the National Football League,” Harbaugh said. “Not that everybody is going to take on this style. But I expect us to create something that hasn’t been seen before. … I think we’re going to be in more elements than any team has ever been.”

Here is the latest from the AFC North, shifting first to Pittsburgh:

  • This weekend, Artie Burns is due an $800K bonus. If the Steelers are to move on from the former first-round pick who has not lived up to that billing, they would stand to limit their losses by doing so soon. Burns’ camp, however, is confident the fourth-year corner will still be a Steeler by week’s end, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Pittsburgh still has Joe Haden and Mike Hilton and added UFA addition Steven Nelson and third-round pick Justin Layne.
  • A hamstring injury will move T.J. Watt to the Steelers’ active/PUP list, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic tweets. The Pro Bowl outside linebacker should be expected to return fairly soon.
  • The Bengals placed Darqueze Dennard and running back Rodney Anderson on their active/PUP list. Dennard underwent offseason knee surgery, while Anderson’s college career ended after an ACL tear. The former Oklahoma running back is a candidate for the reserve/PUP list to start the season, per Fletcher Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Should Anderson stay on the PUP list to start the season, he must remain there for six regular-season weeks.

AFC North Notes: Johnson, Tomlin, Bengals

The Browns refuse to grant Duke Johnson‘s request for a trade, but the running back is expected to show for OTAs, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. But the veteran Browns reporter notes Johnson was not on the field for the first session of Cleveland’s Tuesday workouts. Johnson, understandably, is concerned about his role behind rising star Nick Chubb and new pickup Kareem Hunt, although Hunt will be suspended for the first half of the season. The veteran passing-down back has drawn interest from other teams this offseason, but John Dorsey has insisted that Johnson is in the Browns’ 2019 plans. Despite Dorsey having parted ways with most of the players from previous regimes, he has kept Johnson around. The Dorsey regime extended Johnson in June of 2018. Three years remain on his deal.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • It does not appear the Steelers are having second thoughts about Mike Tomlin, with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac calling a Tomlin extension a “when, not if” situation. Two years remain on Tomlin’s deal, and the Steelers have made a habit of extending their coach when two years were left on previous contracts. Tomlin’s recent Steelers teams have either underachieved or were racked with turmoil, and Dulac adds it would not be unreasonable for Art Rooney II to table an extension for a year. However, Tomlin will likely receive a notable raise because of recent deals handed out to John Harbaugh ($9MM per year), Jon Gruden ($10MM AAV) and Pete Carroll (nearly $11MM annually), Dulac notes. Entering his 13th year with the Steelers, Tomlin is believed to earn just more than $7MM per year.
  • Darqueze Dennard will not participate in near-future Bengals workouts due to having undergone knee surgery earlier this offseason. The operation occurred between the time Dennard re-signed with the Bengals and their offseason program, and Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com notes the team was aware the cornerback needed this arthroscopic procedure done upon re-signing him. The current hope is the slot corner returns for Cincinnati’s minicamp next month.
  • Conversely, Tyler Eifert has been participating in the Bengals’ offseason activities thus far. The injury-prone (perhaps putting it mildly) tight end said he’s “doing pretty much everything” during Bengals workouts, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Eifert’s latest injury interruption came when he suffered an ugly broken ankle early last season. He underwent surgery in October. Despite the spree of setbacks, the former first-round pick stands to be (if healthy) the Bengals’ top receiving tight end.
  • Third-year Bengals defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow expects to be cleared to return by training camp, Dehner adds. The 2017 fourth-round pick tore his ACL in Week 3 of last season. Pro Football Focus offered a strong endorsement of Glasgow’s brief 2018 work sample, though it was cut short after just 92 snaps.
  • The Steelers waived offensive lineman R.J. Prince on Monday. He cleared waivers but has a Ravens workout scheduled for Wednesday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. A 2018 UDFA, Prince spent time on Pittsburgh’s practice squad last season.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Contract Details: Dennard, 49ers, Fins, Jets

Here are the latest contract details from around the league:

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. He’ll return on a one-year deal, according to an announcement from the team.

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.

AFC North Notes: Dennard, Browns, Steelers

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.

Dennard was scheduled to visit the Chiefs this weekend. Shifting first to a higher-profile AFC North situation, here is the latest out of this division:

  • John Dorsey called Dave Gettleman on Monday to ask if Odell Beckham Jr. was indeed available. The Giants’ GM had twice said in 2019 he did not extend the wideout to trade him, but Gettleman told Dorsey he was, in fact, willing to move Beckham, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. Dorsey had several Beckham trades planned, but Cabot adds the talks never included Emmanuel Ogbah or Duke Johnson. Both of those pre-Dorsey Browns investments are now on the trade block.
  • As for the player the Giants did obtain for Beckham, Jabrill Peppers profiled as one the Browns did not want to let go. Despite being a Sashi Brown-era draft choice, Dorsey wanted to keep the improving safety, per Cabot. But Cleveland’s second-year GM was not going to let Peppers stand in the way of acquiring Beckham. Gettleman was “adamant” about Peppers’ inclusion in this trade because of the Giants’ recent decision to let Landon Collins walk in free agency, Cabot adds. The Giants are planning a versatile role for the third-year safety. Peppers can be under Giants control through 2021 via the fifth-year option.
  • The Steelers‘ acquisition of Mark Barron will likely not preclude them from using another early-round pick on a linebacker, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac (on Twitter). Pittsburgh did not elect to devote significant resources to replacing Ryan Shazier last year but has used four first-round picks on linebackers since 2013 — Jarvis Jones, Shazier, Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt. Shazier’s unfortunate circumstances may again prompt the Steelers to use a first-round choice on an off-ball ‘backer.
  • Eli Rogers‘ latest Steelers contract is for two years, not one, the team announced. The auxiliary receiver may have a bigger role in Pittsburgh’s 2019 offense, considering Antonio Brown is out of the picture and Rogers is entering an offseason healthy. He tore an ACL in the Steelers’ 2017 divisional-round game and only played in three games last season.

Chiefs To Host CB Darqueze Dennard

The Chiefs are planning to meet with free agent cornerback Darqueze Dennard this weekend, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Dennard, a first-round pick of the Bengals in 2014, has experienced an extremely quiet market despite other slot corners receiving deals around the NFL. In fact, his trek to Kansas City will mark the first known interest Dennard has drawn this offseason. Cincinnati, for its part, had been willing to re-sign Dennard at around $8.5MM annually, but the club’s stance may have changed after it signed fellow slot defender B.W. Webb on Thursday.

The Bengals are often reticent to field young players during the early portions of their respective careers, and that was never more evident that 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.

Kansas City is searching for defensive back help after losing starter Steven Nelson to the Steelers earlier this week. The Chiefs met with Ronald Darby during the opening hours of the free agent period, but he’s since returned to Philadelphia on a one-year deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.