Bengals Rumors

WR Tyler Boyd Open To Signing Extension

Tyler Boyd is having a breakout season, and he could surely expect a lucrative payday once his rookie deal expires after next season. However, it sounds like the Bengals wideout isn’t all that focused on hitting free agency, as Boyd told Jay Morrison of The Athletic that he’s open to signing an extension with Cincinnati.

“I’m very open for an extension,” the 24-year-old said. “I definitely think about that at times because all the hard work and what I’ve done has showed why I should get paid. But at the end of the day, I’m here to play football and I want them to know that. It ain’t all about the money. I love to play the game. Yes, I want to get the money because I’m working my tail off.

“I’m comfortable here. I like it here. I like the guys that are here. I like the coaches. And I know we have the team to be great. We just have to keep everybody healthy and keep everybody rolling and just stay together. A lot of times there’s a lot of ups and downs, but if we can keep the train going straight, keep everything going straight, no stops or nothing, we can be unbeatable. We can be like the Chiefs in this league.”

Boyd is proving why the Bengals used a second-round pick on him (55th overall) during the 2016 draft. The third-year player has already established career-highs in receptions (69), receiving yards (938), and touchdowns (six) this season, and he could be the first Bengals player not named A.J. Green to lead the team in receiving since 2010.

The last time the Bengals had such a reliable second receiver was 2015, when Marvin Jones hauled in 812 receiving yards. While Jones signed a five-year deal to be the top receiver in Detroit, Boyd said he isn’t concerned about playing second-fiddle to Green.

“The reason that situation works out for me, I feel like me and A.J. are two different players,” Boyd said. “I can work the slot a lot. I can accumulate a lot of yards in the slot. Marvin wasn’t that guy. Marvin ain’t that type of player to accumulate a lot of big yards in the slot. He knew in order for him to get a lot of catches and a lot of yards and be that guy he had to be a No. 1 because he plays the same position as A.J. That’s why that didn’t work out.

“That was his last year of his contract. He could either stay or leave. He had that option. I’m really stuck between.”

Boyd is set to make $1.03MM next season. He’ll hit unrestricted free agency if he doesn’t sign an extension before the 2020 offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Place A.J. Green On IR

It’s official. On Wednesday morning, the Bengals formally placed star wide receiver A.J. Green on injured reserve. To fill his place on the roster, the Bengals activated fifth-round cornerback Davontae Harris from IR. 

[RELATED: Latest On Marvin Lewis]

This marks the second time in three seasons that Green has ended a season on IR. Green has been in and out of the Bengals’ lineup all year and the team clearly missed him when he was sidelined for three November games. After starting the season 4-1, the Bengals have dropped to 5-7 and are looking to stop a four-game losing streak without the services of Green or quarterback Andy Dalton.

Green’s nagging toe injury held him back earlier this season and he had to be carted off the field after re-aggravating the malady during Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. His season ends with 46 catches for 694 yards and six touchdowns. The Bengals, meanwhile, are effectively mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

Without Green, the Bengals will turn to Tyler Boyd, John Ross, and former UDFA Alex Erickson as their top receivers. They’ll be catching passes from Jeff Driskel as the Bengals wrap up their season against the Chargers, Raiders, Browns, and Steelers. Currently, the Bengals are on course for the No. 13 overall pick in the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

A.J. Green To Undergo Surgery

A.J. Green‘s season is over. The seven-time Pro Bowl Bengals wide receiver will undergo surgery to repair torn ligaments in his injured toe, Adam Schefter of tweets.

This procedure will sideline Green for as many as four months, per Schefter. But Green is expected to be ready in time for Bengals OTAs. A procedural IR move will occur; it will mark the second time in three seasons Green will end a season on Cincinnati’s injured list.

After gliding to a 4-1 start, the Bengals have fallen out of AFC contention. Their four-game losing streak can be, in a large part, traced to their best player’s unavailability. Green’s toe injury forced him to miss three November games, and he appeared to re-aggravate the issue during Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. A cart transported Green to the locker room, and that will be the final time fans see Green in uniform in 2018.

A hamstring injury led to Green going on IR late in 2016. He missed three games that season. He’ll end up missing seven this year. Green’s season concludes with 46 receptions, 694 yards and six touchdowns. He is under contract — via the four-year, $60MM deal he signed in 2015 — for one more season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Andy Dalton, Marvin Lewis

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, now in his 16th year at the helm, appeared all but gone from Cincinnati at the end of last season. It was reported last December that Lewis was expected to leave the team to pursue opportunities elsewhere, which included another head coaching job or perhaps a front office role. However, Lewis and the Bengals surprisingly reversed course, and the two sides came to terms on a two-year extension back in January.

However, Ian Rapoport of reports that the two-year extension was actually a one-year pact with a team option for 2019, so the club can move on from Lewis without penalty at the end of the season if it so chooses. Which means, as Rapoport notes, that Lewis’ future as the club’s head coach is once again in doubt.

Lewis has guided the Bengals to a 130-118-3 mark during his tenure, and his club has qualified for the playoffs seven times (including five straight seasons from 2011-15). But Cincinnati is 0-7 in playoff games under Lewis’ watch, and the team now appears destined to miss the postseason for the third consecutive year.

One of the reasons for the Bengals’ disappointing 2018 campaign is injuries. Lewis’ club has been ravaged by the injury bug — the Bengals have put more players on IR in 2018 than they did the last three years combined — and a number of key players who have avoided IR have nonetheless been sidelined for multiple games. So, as Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes, owner Mike Brown will have to think about how much different the season would have been if the Bengals had not been hit so hard by injuries and determine Lewis’ fate based on that. We learned last week that current special assistant Hue Jackson could succeed Lewis as the Bengals’ head coach, and Rapoport confirms that report. RapSheet also suggests that Lewis could transition to a front office role with Cincinnati.

As for quarterback Andy Dalton — who is now among those Bengals on IR — Rapoport says that the Red Rifle will be back with the team in 2019. Dehner writes in a separate piece that Dalton, who did have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb, is expected to make a full recovery before the team’s offseason program begins next year. Dalton believes he has the full support of the team’s decision-makers, and Dehner agrees that no one is expecting the Bengals to part ways with the 31-year-old signal-caller (even though they could do so without taking on any dead money).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends HC Candidates

Every year, the Fritz Pollard Alliance releases a list of recommended minority head coaching candidates. This year’s edition is nearly double in size and features the likes of Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard, as Mike Jones of USA Today writes. 

Here’s the complete list of suggested candidates:

  • Keith Armstrong (Falcons special teams coordinator)
  • Teryl Austin (Former Bengals defensive coordinator)
  • Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs offensive coordinator)
  • Jim Caldwell (former Lions and Colts head coach)
  • George Edwards (Vikings defensive coordinator)
  • Brian Flores (Patriots linebackers coach)
  • Leslie Frazier (Bills defensive coordinator)
  • Raheem Morris (Falcons assistant head coach/wide receivers coach)
  • Hue Jackson (special assistant to the head coach of the Bengals; former Browns head coach)
  • Kris Richard (Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator)
  • Duce Staley (Eagles assistant head coach/running backs coach)

Flores, the de facto defensive coordinator of the Patriots, figures to be a hot coaching candidate this year. The same goes for Bieniemy, who is helping to guide one of the league’s most dangerous offenses.

Others on this list, such as Jackson and Austin, seem unlikely to garner real consideration for head coaching positions this offseason. The Browns turned the corner after dumping Jackson and appointing Gregg Williams as the team’s interim head coach, which isn’t a great endorsement for the offensive guru. Meanwhile, the Bengals hired Austin in January but fired him earlier this month as his defense was one of the lowest ranked in the NFL.

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Bengals Place Jake Fisher On IR

The Bengals placed offensive lineman Jake Fisher on injured reserve due to his ailing back, per a team announcement. Fisher is now the 14th player to land on the Bengals’ IR this season.

The Bengals acted fast to replace Fisher, signing old friend Andre Smith on Thursday morning. Smith may offer experience and familiarity with the Bengals’ blocking schemes, but he is far less skilled at this point in his career than the 25-year-old.

Fisher, a second-round pick in the 2015 draft, also missed half of the 2017 season with an irregular heartbeat. This is a disappointing way for his 2018 season to end, especially since he is slated to reach the open market in March.

The Bengals, who are also without starting quarterback Andy Dalton, face extremely long odds of making the postseason. According to Five Thirty Eight, they have just a 6% chance of making the playoffs with a 1% probability of passing the Steelers and Ravens to win the AFC North.

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Bengals Sign OT Andre Smith

The Bengals signed offensive tackle Andre Smith, according to Geoff Hobson of the team website (on Twitter). The deal marks Smith’s third career stint in Cincinnati. 

Smith, ostensibly, has been brought on board to fill in for Cordy Glenn and Jake Fisher, who are both out with back injuries. Cedric Ogbuehi was next in line to pitch in at tackle, but team brass apparently prefers Smith, even though he struggled at right tackle last year and has not earned a quality score from Pro Football Focus since 2014.

Smith spent the first seven seasons of his career with Cincinnati after being selected No. 6 overall in the 2009 draft and reunited with the Bengals last offseason. He signed a one-year deal with the notion that he would be the team’s starting right guard, but lost that competition to Trey Hopkins. Later on, a spot opened up at right tackle when Jake Fisher was shut down for the year with a heart condition.

This year, Smith hooked on with the Cardinals, but he was unable to produce. Earlier this week, Arizona released him and he went unclaimed on waivers.

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Dalton Injury Could Impact Bengals' Plans

Andy Dalton‘s injury could force the Bengals to look to the future, Katherine Terrell of writes. Jeff Driskel has the reins now in Cincinnati and his performance could lead the Bengals to reconsider Dalton as their future starter or, at least, reconsider their backup QB situation.

Dalton has two years remaining on a six-year, $96MM contract extension he signed in 2014, but the Bengals can move on next year without any fiscal penalty. There are no roster bonuses remaining on the deal either, so the Bengals could theoretically part ways with Dalton at any point in the spring or summer.

Terrell expects Dalton to stay put, unless there’s an overhaul of the coaching staff or Driskel knocks it out of the park over the next five games. Given the Bengals’ history with Marvin Lewis, a Driskel-powered winning streak may be the only thing to threaten the Red Rifle in Cincinnati.

Bengals Place Andy Dalton On IR

Andy Dalton‘s thumb injury will end his season. The Bengals will place their starting quarterback on IR, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (on Twitter).

Cincinnati also claimed Tom Savage off waivers from the 49ers, per Dehner (on Twitter). Jeff Driskel, who took his first NFL snaps this season, will be in line to start the rest of the way for Cincinnati. This may deal a massive blow to the Bengals’ fleeting playoff hopes.

Torn thumb ligaments will cause Dalton to venture to IR, Ian Rapoport of reports (on Twitter). It’s not known if a surgery is scheduled, but that would be logical given the IR announcement. This malady forced Dalton out of the Bengals’ Week 12 loss, but it was initially reported the eighth-year quarterback did not suffer a break. Still, he will head to IR for the first time in his career.

Dalton has missed just three games in his career — all in 2015, which crushed probably the best Bengals team in the past 30 years — and the Bengals did not invest much in a backup quarterback this offseason. A.J. McCarron departed via free agency, but the Bengals retained Driskel and essentially promoted him to QB2.

The Bengals started out 4-1 but have lost five of their past six games. Dalton did not finish losses against the Saints and Browns, the former because of the nature of the game. He was enjoying a better season than he produced in 2017, throwing 21 touchdown passes and holding a 64.6 Total QBR — nearly 20 points better than his 2017 mark.

Dalton had cooled off, though, since Cincy’s hot start, failing to eclipse 160 passing yards in three of his past five starts — the most recent such instance because of his injury. A.J. Green‘s absence had plenty to do with this, but while the Bengals’ top player may be ready to return in Week 13 against the Broncos, Driskel (36 career pass attempts) will be throwing him passes.

Driskel began his college career at Florida before transferring to Louisiana Tech. He landed with the 49ers in 2016 as a UDFA.

Savage spent parts of this season with the 49ers but was jettisoned multiple times, the most recent cut coming Saturday. He was the Texans’ opening day starter in 2017, but Deshaun Watson quickly replaced him. After Watson’s injury, Savage returned. He finished last season with 1,412 passing yards, five touchdown throws and six INTs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Andy Dalton Avoids Broken Thumb

It’s been a rough November for the Bengals, who have tumbled off the No. 6 seed line on “If the season ended today” graphics. Now, the 5-6 team may be facing the prospect of playing its first game without Andy Dalton in three years. The longtime Cincinnati starter left Sunday’s loss to the Browns early because of a thumb injury, but Ian Rapoport of tweets initial tests did not reveal a break. Dalton will undergo further examination, but it appears the eighth-year starter avoided serious injury. His status for Week 13 is uncertain, however. The Bengals did not invest much resources in at backup quarterback this year, going with Jeff Driskel after the departure of A.J. McCarron. A former UDFA, Driskel entered today’s game having thrown seven career passes — all this season. He would be in line to face the Broncos next week if Dalton can’t go.