Antonio Bryant was released by the Cincinnati Bengals today. Fans seeing “Antonio Bryant cut by Bengals” headlines might now be regretting that the Bengals gave him such a nice contract in the offseason. It also seems to be the quickest that we have seen a top shelf free agent signed for this much money and then cut before the regular season even got started. It was this offseason that the Bengals decided to offer Bryant a nice four-year $28 million contract in order to shore up the wide receiver positions on the team. Instead of Bryant helping the Bengals get back to the NFL playoffs in the 2010 season, he won’t even be on the roster, with the Bengals leaning heavier on Terrell Owens in his stead.
Though Bryant was just cut, he will still make a nice chunk of money for not playing, as $8 million of his new contract was guaranteed. He will be paid that $8 million even if he signs with another NFL team, but he won’t be able to make the full $28 million he had under this contract unless another team is willing to take the risk. There are certainly a large number of NFL teams that need more wide receivers though, so don’t write off his career just yet. If he is willing to take a big cut in his pay-rate, he could certainly make his way back to an NFL field very soon. The problem though, will be that teams want to know what took place behind the scenes, and why it was that Bryant played so terrible with the Bengals. It’s entirely possible that the two entities just didn’t click, and that happens sometimes.
Antonio Bryant has played for a host of teams during his time in the NFL, starting with the Dallas Cowboys before going to Cleveland, San Francisco, and then Tampa Bay in 2008. That 2008 season was his best in the NFL, when he caught 83 passes for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns. He has only passed the 1,000 yard mark one other time (2005 in Cleveland) and only had 600 receiving yards last season. This is why some analysts thought that Bryant was being overpaid with his new $7 million per season contract, and they were just proven right when the Bengals dumped Bryant on Sunday. Look for this to be good news for Jordan Shipley, who just moved up the depth chart already in Cincinnati.