In what was not exactly a final cut Tuesday, the Bengals opened the door for other moves later this week by keeping five wide receivers, six edge rushers and 11 defensive backs among their 53 players.
But the AFC champs are pretty much staying put. Except for the offensive line, only the bottom of the roster is churning. A total of 38 (72 percent) of the Bengals on Tuesday's roster were on the Super Bowl roster.
When they released their roster moves officially late Tuesday afternoon, they did make one major move for the opener that is a dozen days away against the Steelers at Paycor Stadium. Plan on a franchise-record 208th game for punter Kevin Huber when he survived what was thought to be a razor thin call with first-year challenger Drue Chrisman.
On Wednesday they can claim players from other teams, as well as form a 16-man practice squad from the pool of players that they cut and cleared waivers. On Thursday they can move a player from the roster to injured reserve, which for this year is four weeks.
Also, it appears that all six drafts picks made it for Sept. 11, as well as one undrafted rookie in Vanderbilt cornerback Allan George.
George is one of 11 defensive backs (ten is the norm) and that's not even counting Opening Day starter Jessie Bates III, still working on a roster exemption. With teams allowed to put injured players on lists Thursday, it could mean second-round cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt is going on four-week injured reserve after undergoing surgery on his core
Certainly another move is pending because they cut No. 4 wide receiver Michael Thomas like they did last season. Last year they brought him back after they made a corresponding move. A vested veteran not eligible for the waiver wire Thomas figures to be re-signing again like he did last year.
They also went heavier than they did last year at running back, where they cut Travveon Williams and went with three. This year, Williams made it to give them four.
Head coach Zac Taylor said Tuesday that edge Khalid Kareem (hamstring) is going to join Taylor-Britt on IR. Plus, when Bates goes back on the roster in another day, somebody else is going.
Burrow makes his third straight Opening Day start, all at Payor, and first in the division. He's looking to go to 2-1 in openers and 3-1 against the Steelers while evening his career record at 13-13-1 and AFC North record at 5-5.
Allen starts his third year backing up Burrow and Jake Browning figures to again start on the practice squad.
Tyler Boyd (7), Trent Taylor (5), Stanley Morgan (4), Tee Higgins (3), Ja'Marr Chase (2)
They cut Michael Thomas, but that would seem to suggest they'll bring him back once they get room after making a move because they need six receivers. Always a bit intriguing when a heavy three-receiver team keeps six. But they must have thought veteran running back Trayveon Williams outplayed both undrafted rookie receivers, yet you've got to figure they'd like to bring back both Kwamie Lassitter II and Kendrick Pryor to the practice squad if both clear waivers.
Joe Mixon (6), Samaje Perine (6), Trayveon Williams (4), Chris Evans (2)
Williams has seen both sides in his three previous cut downs. He made it his first two seasons, went practice squad last year and got the call late in the season.
Hayden Hurst (5), Drew Sample (4), Mitchell Wilcox (3)
It looks like Sample may avoid injured reserve. They could make another move here.
T La'el Collins (8), C-G Ted Karras (7), G Alex Cappa (5), T Isaiah Prince (4), T Jonah Williams (4), G Hakeem Adeniji (3), G Jackson Carman (2), C Trey Hill (2), T D'Ante Smith (2); G-T Cordell Volson (R)
No surprise that it's the biggest change on the roster. Four of the five projected starters weren't on the Super Bowl roster.
T D.J. Reader (7), E Trey Hendrickson (6), E Sam Hubbard (5), T B.J. Hill (5), T Josh Tupou (5), E Khalid Kareem (3), E Joseph Ossai (2), E Cam Sample (2), T Zach Carter (R), E Jeffrey Gunter
Last year's fourth-rounder, Shelvin, apparently didn't do enough to convince them to keep five tackles. They may still be looking.
Germaine Pratt (4), Markus Bailey (3), Akeem Davis-Gaither (3), Clay Johnston (3), Logan Wilson (3)
Johnston the NFL preseason's leading tackler, earned his Opening Day spot the hard way. Joe Bachie, coming back from a December ACL surgery, is on the three-week physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
S Michael Thomas (9), CB Eli Apple (7), S Vonn Bell (7), CB Chidobe Awuzie (6), CB Mike Hilton (6), CB Tre Flowers (5), CB Jalen Davis (3), S Tycen Anderson (R), CB Allan George (R) S Dax Hill (R), CB Cam Taylor-Britt (R)
George's tackling gets him on special teams as Taylor-Britt mends.
LS Clark Harris (14), P Kevin Huber (14), K Evan McPherson (2)
Huber's experience carries the day with more than 10,000 yards in AFC North games.
Harris also fends off a challenge, but he's still six game shy of his buddy Huber.
Cam Sample's mom, as versatile as her son, is a senior vice president for a bank who has put him on the cover of what would be her fourth children's book. But that's as far as she has gone on the writing project about Cameron's successful life entwined in a football journey and what it took. Mom, he said to Deidre' Sample at some point after that sophomore year at Tulane, it's not time yet.
The clock in the big room at Paycor Stadium where they jack weights and coax character blinks 5:57 in the morning. An ungodly hour for everyone but owls, greens keepers and Vonn Bell, the Bengals' 24-hour-seven strong safety and even stronger "Sensei."
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