There is absolutely no suspense as the Bengals release their first try at the 53-man roster late Saturday afternoon and are saving it all for Sunday after they have first crack at the NFL’s waiver wire and form their largest practice squad ever with 16 players.
This year, all players are eligible for the practice squad once they clear waivers.
Years of NFL experience are in parenthesis:
Ryan Finley (2), Joe Burrow (R)
The practice squad appears to be where at least one of the two quarterbacks they cut Saturday are headed.
Jake Dolegala, the undrafted rookie who headlined last year’s roster cutdown when he made it, didn’t have a preseason to show off his big arm and joined four-year vet Brandon Allen on the cutting block. But Allen isn’t subject to waivers and as a street free agent he could return to the Bengals in some form on Sunday.
In the Covid era the Bengals would no doubt like to have three quarterbacks under control. Allen was signed near the beginning of training camp because of his vast knowledge of the scheme working with Bengals head coach Zac Taylor in Los Angeles.
This season teams can protect four practice squad players weekly and no one is subject to waivers if signed to the active roster.
And, of course, there’s the Josh Rosen factor if he does indeed hit the waiver wire. At 6-4, 226-pounds, Rosen is the size the Bengals like their quarterbacks and can any team pass on a player who was the 10th pick in a draft two years ago even if he’s a backup on his third team?
So who would go from today’s 53?
A.J. Green (10), Tyler Boyd (5), Alex Erickson (5), Mike Thomas (5), John Ross III (4), Auden Tate (3), Tee Higgins (R).
Thomas had a great camp, which makes it a no-brainer that they would keep seven. Throw in the fact they went easy the past three weeks on Green and Ross after they got dinged early and it’s no surprise Thomas would be the lucky seven.
Giovani Bernard (8), Joe Mixon (4), Samaje Perine (4), Trayveon Williams (2)
Another no surprise here. Remember how quickly they grabbed Perine off waivers when the Dolphins cut him after the Bengals had him last season? His special team abilities and size (235 pounds) were never in doubt and he looked good during camp. If Perine is the big back backup, then Williams is the shifty third-down back backup for Bernard. Plus they think he can build on last season’s 124 snaps in the kicking game as a rookie.