The Bengals announced on Twitter that they released the safety with the 2016 campaign approaching. According to Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Mays was released because he is facing another drug-related suspension on top of the four-game ban he is set to serve for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
However, Rapoport added that if Mays "is ready to play" after his suspension—which he noted is for "at least eight games"—the Bengals haven't "ruled out bringing him back."
Mays played in 14 games for the Oakland Raiders in 2015, posting 26 combined tackles, the second-highest mark of his career. Zac Jackson of Pro Football Talk noted the former USC Trojans star joined Oakland before the 2015 campaign after he was cut by the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.
Mays entered the league as a second-round pick in 2010 and appeared in all 16 games during his rookie season with the San Francisco 49ers. From there, he joined the Bengals and played in 50 of 64 regular-season contests. He has 124 combined tackles in six years.
Jason Marcum of SB Nation's Cincy Jungle noted that “the hard-hitter was a major liability against the pass.” Rather than playing strictly defensive back, Mays utilized his skill set as a linebacker-safety hybrid at times.
The Bengals made the playoffs last season, but they finished a disappointing 20th in the NFL against the pass. They still have George Iloka and Derron Smith as potential starters at safety but will need to improve in the secondary if they hope to challenge for a Super Bowl title. Smith is entering his second season in the league, while Iloka has been with the Bengals since 2012.