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On the Bubble: Three Bengals That Could Be Surprisingly Released
Training camp is full of players who, unfortunately, will not crack the 53-man roster. While many of these players can be predicted ahead of time, there are always a few cuts that end up surprising portions of the fan base.
Here is a look at three of those players who could be surprisingly released during camp.
1. OG Michael Jordan
A fourth-round pick out of Ohio State in 2019, the Cincinnati-born Jordan had high expectations to be the team’s starting left guard. However, he is entering his third year with questions as to if he’s still worth a roster spot, let alone starting.
Jordan, who has appeared in 27 games and started 19 of them through two seasons, earned a Pro Football Focus grade of just 55.7 last year. He is also one of the players who was responsible for the hit on Joe Burrow, which led to the season-ending injury.
The 23-year old Jordan also doesn’t cost a whole lot if they decide to part with him. While he’s set to make close to $1 million, his dead cap hit is just over $240K should he be released.
Jordan has already shifted over to right guard on the team’s first unofficial depth chart but is still facing stiff competition from veteran Xavier Su’a-Filo and rookie second-rounder Jackson Carman. A poor camp and the “other” M.J. may be in trouble.
2. C Billy Price
Staying on the offensive line, Price was taken in the first round back in 2018. Another former Buckeye, the 26-year old has already relinquished his starting center role and may be off the roster by the time Week 1 is here.
Price has appeared in all 16 games each of the last two years but has only started in nine games, a troubling sign for a former first-round pick entering his fourth season. While he was on the field for nearly-20 percent of Cincinnati’s snaps last year, his Pro Football Focus grade was a paltry 50.7.
The Bengals are already preparing to move on from Price. As a former first-round pick, the team has an option for a fifth season on his rookie deal. However, Cincinnati declined it, thus making the disappointing center a free agent following this season.
At this point, Price’s grasp of a roster spot is dependent on the health of starting center Trey Hopkins, who tore his ACL in January. But the Bengals are continuing to bring in backup options for workouts, including former Chiefs center Austin Reiter, which may mean Price’s time in Cincy might be coming to an end.
3. DT Renell Wren
After missing all of 2020 due to injury, it’s easy to forget about Wren, Cincinnati’s fourth-round pick in 2019. But after being buried on the depth chart, the 25-year old native of St. Louis might be packing his bags in a couple of weeks.
Wren’s only time on the field was in his rookie year, wherein two starts and 11 total games, he made eight combined tackles. But with an uneven rookie year and non-existent second season, Wren is now a third-string backup behind starters Larry Ogunjobi and D.J. Reader as well as backups Josh Tupou and Mike Daniels.
Additionally, the fact Cincinnati selected four additional defensive linemen in this year’s draft will only hurt Wren’s chances of making the team. If he does, in fact, get cut, it would be yet another wasted draft pick over the last few years.
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