Vontaze Burfict Reportedly Cut by Bengals After 7 Seasons with Team

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2019

Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict walks the field during practice before an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Frank Victores/Associated Press

The Cincinnati Bengals released linebacker Vontaze Burfict on Monday after seven seasons with the franchise.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the news. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted the Bengals had been trying to trade Burfict but released him when they were unsuccessful.

Burfict, 28, has played his entire career with the Bengals. He's been mostly solid when on the field but has struggled mightily with injuries throughout his NFL tenure. After playing in 16 games each of his first two NFL seasons, Burfict has missed at least five to injury in each of the last five years.

The 2018 season was perhaps the worst of Burfict's career, as he was limited to seven games due to injury. He also struggled mightily when he was on the field, with Katherine Terrell of ESPN noting there were times Burfict's effort was nonexistent and highlighting his propensity for talking to officials.

The Bengals' decision to move on from Burfict comes as little surprise. New coach Zac Taylor and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo do not have a past relationship with the controversial linebacker. Former coach Marvin Lewis was among Burfict's biggest supporters.

Burfict is one of the NFL's most controversial figures because of his propensity for illegal and borderline dirty hits. He's been fined more than any other player since entering the league in 2012 and suspended on multiple occasions.

That history may limit the amount of suitors for Burfict on the open market. The Bengals' inability to trade him speaks to the level of trepidation around the league—both about his ability to stay healthy and his willingness to avoid costly mistakes.

Odds are a team will roll the dice and give him a chance, but he'll probably find a market full of one-year deals. 

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