Bengals confirm Winston’s return, release wide receiver
Last Friday, the Bengals announced they re-signed tackle Eric Winston to a one-year deal. That move was made official on Monday, giving the team a veteran presence to a position with a void to fill after Andrew Whitworth‘s departure.
However, Winston’s return does not come without some loss. To make room for the 33-year-old, Cincinnati waived wide receiver, James Wright.
Wright definitely showed potential in his three seasons with the Bengals. College teammate Jeremy Hill vouched for him at the 2014 NFL Draft and Cincinnati picked him in the seventh round.
Wright got an opportunity to play during his rookie season. Marvin Jones missed the entire year, Tyler Eifert played just eight snaps, and A.J. Green missed time, too.
His first catch was against the Carolina Panthers in week six. It went for 24 yards and set up Mike Nugent for a game-winning 33-yard field goal. Unfortunately, Nugent pushed the kick wide right and Wright’s first professional reception was long forgotten.
In week 13 against Tampa Bay, the Bengals struggled against the 2-9 Buccaneers. Cincinnati overcame a 10-point deficit, thanks to Wright’s team-leading 59 receiving yards on three catches.
In the win, Wright had the longest offensive play of the game — a 30-yard, third-down catch in the fourth quarter. On the same play, though, Wright suffered a torn PCL. The injury shut him down for the rest of the season and forced him on injured reserve for all of 2015.
He was finally activated off the PUP list on August 1, 2016. Last season, he totaled a career-high 13 catches on 19 targets for 106 yards.
Wright should not have a problem getting at least a tryout with another club in 2017. The Bengals’ receiving corps is just crowded at the moment with Brandon LaFell re-signing for two years and Cody Core turning heads as a rookie last season.
The general consensus is that Cincinnati will likely draft a receiver next month.