With OTAs and minicamp about to get underway in the next couple of weeks, roster battles will ignite in full force. But which veterans could be on the losing end of those battles and see their days as a Cincinnati Bengal come to an end?
Hakeem Adeniji has played a ton of snaps in quite a few important games throughout his time in Cincinnati. From right guard to left and right tackle, Adeniji has played almost every position on the offensive line. But with the new additions of Cody Ford and Orlando Brown, Adeniji will get bumped back on the depth chart. He will likely be fighting with D’Ante Smith and Jaxson Kirkland for one single roster spot, and the Bengals may opt for youth and upside over Adeniji’s known skillset.
The Bengals kept 10 total defensive linemen on the 2022-2023 final 53-man roster. And Cam Sample may be on the outside looking in when it’s all said and done. Obviously, Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, Joseph Ossai, and Myles Murphy will be your main defensive ends. While DJ Reader, B.J. Hill, Zach Carter, and Josh Tupou will almost certainly be your interior linemen. That leaves just two spots for Tarrell Basham, Jeffrey Gunter, Jay Tufele, and Sample to battle it out. Sample’s inside/outside versatility may be his advantage to making the final roster, but don’t be surprised if Tufele and Basham edge him out.
Chris Evans was drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 Draft with hopes that he’d be a dynamic weapon for the offense. But after failing to make his mark on the team and losing his starting kickoff return job, Evans is far from a lock to make the team. The Bengals will likely keep four running backs, but if they want to keep an extra receiver, that may push Evans off the 53-man and onto the practice squad.
Bachie has been a valuable asset to the special teams unit and has made key stops when he has seen the field on defense. With the top four linebacker spots secured, Bachie and UDFA Shaka Heyward are in line for that final spot. Heyward is bigger, faster, and younger than Bachie and could force a surprise decision from the Bengals coaching staff and front office.
No way they could cut Uncle Mike, right? It is just hard to find a spot for the savvy special teams veteran. Dax Hill, Nick Scott, and Jordan Battle will be the rotational starters with likely one roster spot between Michael Thomas and Tycen Anderson. Anderson spent all of his rookie season on the bench due to injury, but the Bengals traded up for him in 2022 and love his traits. With Cinciannti’s emphasis on getting younger and faster, it’s easier to see them making the change and going with Anderson.