The Cincinnati Bengals don’t have to make many tough decisions in terms of the salary cap, but these three players could be surprise cuts this offseason.
With their franchise quarterback seemingly secure, even as Joe Burrow comes off a torn ACL, the Cincinnati Bengals are in pretty good shape. Last year’s 4-11-1 record is deceivingly bad, as they lost five games by five points or less and Burrow missed the final six games.
Climbing the AFC North standings will be tough. But the Bengals should be able to add impactful young players in the draft again this year, and they have the fifth-most cap space in the league (nearly $45.6 million, according to Spotrac).
So in the big picture, the Bengals don’t have to make any tough decisions based strictly on cap room. Veteran defensive tackle Geno Atkins may gone based on his own desire to move on. A shoulder issue limited him to eight games in 2020, and his role was notably reduced when he was able to play. Cutting Atkins would clear $9.5 million in cap space, with $5.2 million in dead money.
Atkins will not be a surprise cut for the Bengals, so he won’t make this list. But here are three players who would be surprise cuts for them this offseason.
3 surprise cuts the Bengals could make this offseason3. RB Giovani Bernard
As Joe Mixon ultimately only played six games due to a foot injury, Bernard stepped in and made 10 starts during the 2020 season. In those outings he averaged just over 61 yards from scrimmage per game, and as usual he was a bigger contributor in the passing game (47 catches on the season).
Bernard is an easy cut financially, as the Bengals would clear $4.1 million in cap space and leave behind less than $700,00 in dead money. But the question for them is they want to go with Trayveon Williams, Samaje Perine etc. behind Mixon instead, and lose a veteran presence that they don’t necessarily have to part with.