The Cincinnati Bengals will have another large roster turnover this offseason as the front office lets Zac Taylor again reshape things to his liking.
Cincinnati has some big-name free agents like Carl Lawson and will use items like free agency and the draft to fuel the turnover.
But an underrated element of the overhaul? Cutting players loose. Here are a few players the Bengals could cut this offseason, whether it’s to free cap space, improve positional units or some combination of the two.
Bobby Hart, T
Oct 28, 2018; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Bobby Hart (68) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
It’s clear from the vibes surrounding the Bengals and sheer common sense that the team will undergo major changes to the offensive line this season. Improving the tackle spot across from Jonah Williams seems to be an emphasis. That means cutting Hart loose. While he finally improved a bit in 2020, it took too long after an extension that shouldn’t have happened in the first place and letting him go frees up roughly $5.9 million.
B.J. Finney, OL
Jun 14, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A Cincinnati Bengals helmet during minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Finney came over from Seattle in the Carlos Dunlap trade and never really got on the field. There’s an outside chance the team wants to see what he can do before just letting him go — but it’s hard to ignore the fact cutting him would free up $3.5 million.
Mason Schreck, TE
Aug 1, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Mason Schreck (86) makes a catch during Cincinnati Bengals training camp practice on the practice fields at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK
Schreck got called up but never really moved the needle. The tight end room is quietly budding into a strength with C.J. Uzomah, Drew Sample and Cethan Carter. Cutting Schreck would save a little under $1 million in space.
Ryan Finley, QB
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley (5) throws a pass during training camp at the Paul Brown Stadium practice field in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp
Finley got himself demoted in favor of Brandon Allen quickly after Joe Burrow went down. That’s after he helped the team tank the year prior by struggling so much — despite Zac Taylor and Co. trading up to get him. Cutting Finley isn’t notable from a cap space perspective, but Taylor will probably want to reinforce depth.
Michael Jordan, OG
Cincinnati Bengals offensive guard Mike Jordan runs a drill during NFL football training camp, Monday, July 29, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
Again, the Bengals will make major changes to the line. Guard could be one of those spots and there is only so much room. Jordan, despite being an amazing story as a lifelong Bengals fan and Ohio State player, just hasn’t panned out and now he’s got to come back from playing a big role on the play that got Burrow hurt. Maybe that changes with Frank Pollack coaching him up, but there might not be room.
Geno Atkins, DL
Oct 6, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
This is the big one. Atkins apparently suffered a shoulder injury late in training camp and never really made it on the field. When he was there, the impact wasn’t noticeable. Atkins will be 33 in March and cutting him saves $9.6 million in cap space. The rumblings after he went to injured reserve sure made it sound like he and the team would split this offseason, which makes sense considering the Bengals need as much free space as possible to extend guys like Lawson and pursue free agency’s biggest names along the offensive line.