What does the release mean for the Bengals going forward?
As a Bengals fan I would like to start by saying, thank you 43. Since being drafted back in 2012, you have been a key leader to this defense both on and off the field. You have been a guy who is fun to cheer for. We wish you the best of luck moving forward in your career.
As many of you know, news broke on Sunday that the Bengals released veteran safety, George Iloka. It is being called a financial decision by all those involved, as the deal saves $18 million over the next three years. This could mean big extensions coming for guys like Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, and maybe even Darqueze Dennard, who are all set to hit free agency after this year.
The initial reaction to the release is “who is starting week 1?”, and that should be second round pick Jessie Bates. Bates becomes the immediate favorite to win the job after Marvin Lewis hinted at this last week. Lewis stated in a press conference, “We have been pushing him in early, and you want to see him take command when he has to take command,” Lewis said. ”He could end up being the guy back there real quick. You have to keep urging Jessie to move forward.” It is possible Lewis was referring to the release of Iloka last week due to the play of Bates.
The Bengals do not normally bring rookies in and let them start right away, even if they should. The Bengals have been known for making rookies wait behind veterans, so it is an unusual move by the Bengals which shows just how confident they are in Bates. Many thought he would rotate in with Iloka and Shawn Williams, or play in three safety sets, but no one thought he could be the week one starter.
This is now the second move by the Bengals this year in which they have let a veteran option go in favor of the young player. We saw Brandon LaFell cut early in camp because of guys like Tyler Boyd, John Ross, and Josh Malone. Now we see Iloka cut in favor of Bates. It raises the question, if Iloka was cut to save money, will the Bengals next cut Michael Johnson who would save them the same amount of money. Johnson should be feeling the pressure, with guys like Carl Lawson, Jordan Willis, and Sam Hubbard all playing very well behind him. With two weeks left of preseason I do not believe that the Bengals are done making moves.
But does this make sense?
As of now this looks like it was simply done to make money to pay guys who are of more importance to the defense. If they believe Bates can fill in and it helps us resign guys like Dunlap or Geno, then I think it does make sense. The team does not normally make these types of moves, so maybe it’s a sign they are finally going to use their cap space wisely. However, if they don’t get anyone signed with this money I think it was a bonehead move. Only time will tell, but it is now time to put all eyes on Jessie Bates and see how he continues to play the rest of preseason.
As always follow me on twitter @Pierson242FF. I am always down to talk anything Bengals or fantasy related!