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Bengals drop a CB, reportedly add another

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals have released one cornerback and reportedly signed another.

A league source told ESPN.com Tuesday evening that Brandon Burton had been waived. Earlier in the afternoon, Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reported that undrafted free agent Victor Hampton was signing with the team. Wilson credited his report to Hampton's agent.

Neither of the moves has been made official by the Bengals.

If Hampton has been signed, he would effectively take Burton's spot on the roster, putting the Bengals right at 90 players. Cincinnati first reached the 90-man capacity offseason roster when tight end Alex Smith was re-signed early in the day. The unrestricted free agent's return coincides with fellow tight end Jermaine Gresham's recovery from hernia surgery.

Hampton may have actually practiced with the Bengals on Tuesday. There was an additional defensive back working out during the team's mandatory minicamp that began this week. When inquiries were made by reporters as to who the mystery player was, they were told they may have someone going through a tryout. If that was the case and that player was Hampton, it's possible his potential signing wasn't official at the time the inquiries were made.

In Burton, the Bengals lose a backup corner who they signed to a future reserve contract back in January after he had been let go by Buffalo. Burton has been in the NFL since 2011, when he was a Vikings fifth-round selection. In 19 career games, he has just five tackles.

Cornerback depth has been a hot topic of conversation in Cincinnati this offseason. The Bengals have eight players at the position -- not counting Burton -- including the aging Terence Newman, Adam Jones and Leon Hall. It was the trio's age, all will be over 30 by the end of the regular season, that made it necessary for the Bengals to take a corner in the first round of this year's draft. Darqueze Dennard was selected 24th overall to help address the long-term depth concerns that will arise at the position.

Hampton would give the Bengals another player to compete for the final cornerback spot.

He was in college last fall, playing out his junior season at South Carolina. During his last two seasons he had 91 tackles, 13 pass breakups and four interceptions. Off-field trouble found him during and after his career, including as recent as April, when he was wanted for questioning about an assault at a New York nightclub. He was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case, but was also arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after an argument with his sister later that month.

"It scared some teams, I guess," Hampton said to The State (Columbia, South Carolina) two days after last month's draft ended without him being selected.

Along with those issues, he also missed two starts for a violation of team rules last season, and was suspended the first three games of the 2011 season. According to The State, his original scholarship to the University of Florida was revoked partially for disciplinary issues.

Praised for his playmaking ability, Hampton could be a unique fit in a Bengals defense that hinges on creating turnovers. If he were to make the Bengals' 53-man roster, Hampton likely would be compared to linebacker Vontaze Burfict, another undrafted player whose so-called off-field issues contributed to his massive slide out of the 2012 draft. Burfict has so far been having the last laugh, though. He earned a trip to the Pro Bowl last season after leading the league in tackles.