The Cincinnati Bengals are among the top-six teams with cap space as the 2021 free agency period approaches next month. Cincinnati has been frugal in free agent spending in the past. That was until last season, when the Bengals signed eight unrestricted free agents to over $130 million in contracts. Cincinnati will look to add some key players to build around QB Joe Burrow, while also building through the NFL Draft.
The Bengalls are off a disappointing 4-11-1 season that was filled with underwhelming performances and injuries, including to Burrow. There are players the Bengals will not re-sign or keep in their future plans. That includes longtime Bengals star receiver AJ Green, who is a free agent. Here are three other players that will likely not be playing for the Bengals in 2021.
3. Geno Atkins, DT
Geno Atkins was a Pro Bowler in 2019. But the 32-year-old played little in 2020 due to a shoulder injury suffered in training camp. He did not register a single sack. By releasing Atkins, the Bengals would clear up nearly $10 million in cap room. The harsh reality of the cold business of the NFL will settle in for many NFL veterans in the weeks ahead. That includes Atkins, who has played his entire career for Cincinnati.
2. Giovani Bernard, RB
Giovani Bernard is set to earn $4 million in the final year of his contract. The 29-year-old back-up running back is a prime candidate to be included in trades to a contender as the Bengals draft a fresher, cheaper complement to starting RB Joe Mixon.
1. C.J. Uzomah, TE
C.J. Uzomah signed a 3-year, $18 million deal two years ago and he carries a cap hit of more than $6 million this year. The locker room leader sustained a season-ending torn Achilles in Week 2, and Uzomah could be another cold-business casualty to give the Bengals more options.
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