Trae Waynes is back. The Bengals activated their starting cornerback from injured reserve today, reports Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (via Twitter). Offensive lineman D’Ante Smith has also been activated from IR (per ESPN’s Ben Baby on Twitter).
The Bengals signed Waynes to a three-year, $42MM deal in March 2020, but the organization has only gotten two games out of their investment. Waynes missed all of 2020 because of a torn pec, and a hamstring injury forced him to miss the start of this season. The 29-year-old managed to get into Week 4 and Week 5, starting both games while collecting five tackles. However, he aggravated his hamstring injury in that latter game, and he hasn’t seen the field since.
Waynes is attached to an $8.4MM base salary this season; that number climbs to $10.4MM in 2022. The Bengals are on the hook for Waynes’ prorated signing bonus ($5MM) next year but could save $11MM by making the seven-year vet a cap casualty. The veteran’s performance down the stretch will likely determine his future with the organization.
Smith is a fourth-round rookie out of East Carolina. He didn’t see the field during the first month of the season, and he was stashed on IR with a knee injury in mid-October.
The Bengals made a handful of additional moves in anticipation of their game against the Broncos tomorrow, promoting linebacker Austin Calitro, wide receiver Trent Taylor, and linebacker Keandre Jones from the practice squad.