Saturday, August 30, 2008
Bengals: Cutdown analysis
By James Walker
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
Biggest surprise: Despite head coach Marvin Lewis insisting trade reports were just "rumors," the Bengals cut running back Rudi Johnson today after being unable to find a suitable trade for a wide receiver. Johnson has been battling hamstring injuries for the past year, and the Bengals were unhappy with his progress in training camp. Still, we are a little surprised the team is relying on Chris Perry fulltime as the go-to guy when he hasn't stayed healthy for one season during his entire NFL career. Willie Anderson's release also was a surprise. He had battled leg injuries for the past three or four years and lost his job to Stacy Andrews at right tackle this summer. But the team was expected to keep him around for leadership purposes.
No-brainers: Rookie receivers Mario Urrutia and Maurice Purify were part of an unimpressive class that was expected to challenge for roster spots. But those two along with highly-drafted rookies Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell weren't consistent enough in training camp and the preseason. It was part of the reason the team brought back receiver Chris Henry in a controversial move this summer.
What's next: Cincinnati will be scanning the wires for receivers. Giving up Johnson for nothing gives the Bengals very little trade bait remaining on their roster. But with ailments to Chad Johnson (shoulder) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (hamstring) and Caldwell (toe), Cincinnati needs more depth.