The 2021 NFL season was nearly a dream come true for the Cincinnati Bengals. After seeing just four wins in 2020, the Bengals made it all the way to Super Bowl LVI this year, coming up just short against the Los Angeles Rams to the tune of a 23-20 score.
Now, the Bengals will turn to the offseason to regroup. While their current roster was enough to make it to football's biggest game, some improvements must be made and that will lead to players not returning for the 2022 NFL campaign.
Here's a look at three players who won't be on the Bengals roster next season.
Cincinnati Bengals 2022 Roster
1. Eli Apple, Cornerback
Few players drew as much criticism after Super Bowl LVI as Bengals cornerback Eli Apple. The 26-year-old left a lot to be desired throughout the game, especially after Cooper Kupp dismantled him on the game-winning drive. Apple is now slated to be a free agent and may have played himself out the door with his last performance. Cincinnati needs a cornerback who can cover the NFL's top threats or at least slow them down and Apple doesn't appear to be that guy. Unless he takes a pay cut to play a lesser role or can convince management that he's better than he is, he might wind up in a different jersey next season.
2. Brandon Allen, Quarterback
Third-year quarterback Brandon Allen is another player who's set to hit free agency. The Bengals are set at the position with Joe Burrow as the QB of the future, however, they may want to invest in a better backup. Burrow has already been sacked 102 times in 30 career NFL games (regular season plus playoffs) and is now dealing with another potential knee injury following Super Bowl LVI. Allen has already proven that he isn't that reliable of a backup QB with a career 2-7 record and likely isn't improving at the age of 29. The Bengals can probably find someone more reliable in free agency, which is a necessity if Burrow keeps taking the abuse that he has been behind Cincinnati's offensive line.
3. C.J. Uzomah, Tight End
C.J. Uzomah will also hit free agency following a campaign that saw him finish with career-highs in receptions (49), receiving yards (493) and touchdowns (five). A performance like that will likely have teams opening their checkbooks for his services this offseason. Uzomah made just over $6.1 million in 2021 and will likely be looking to make the same, if not more going forward. While the Bengals have a lot of cap space, they may not be willing to pay the price that the 29-year-old tight end is looking for. They might look for someone younger and more dynamic to grow alongside Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase. Cincinnati also has Drew Sample under contract next season, so it isn't like there aren't already internal tight end options.
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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.