NFL free agency rumors: Bengals release Vontaze Burfict

NFL free agency rumors: Bengals release Vontaze Burfict

The Bengals are moving on from Vontaze Burfict.

According to NFL Media, which cited an unidentified source, Cincinnati released the veteran linebacker Monday after seven seasons with the organization.

Burfict had signed a three-year contraction extension worth $38.68 million before the 2017 season and is slated to cost the Bengals $1.8 million in dead salary cap money, though cutting him will save the team $5.5 million overall.

Burfict, 28, went undrafted out of Arizona State in the 2012 draft following a failed drug test and lukewarm pre-draft testing but still managed to impress the Bengals enough to sign him. One of the most polarizing players in franchise history, he was best known for his hard and sometimes controversial hits that amounted to millions of dollars lost to fines and suspensions as he terrorized the AFC North.

However, his production has declined in recent years due to injury, and he hasn’t appeared in more than 11 games in a season since 2016.

Burfict was limited to just seven games in 2018 after beginning the year suspended for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy and then in a three-week span in December suffering the sixth and seventh known concussions of his NFL career, leaving his playing career in question.