On Thursday, the Bengals announced that they were releasing receiver Brandon LaFell.
Per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, LaFell’s release came after repeated lobbying for the move by his agent, Jonathan Feinsod.
The #Bengals are cutting WR Brandon LaFell, his agent Jonathan Feinsod tells me. “We have been lobbying for his release for some time now and appreciate the Bengals granting our request,” Feinsod said.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 2, 2018
This report was disputed by an unnamed team source, per ESPN’s Katherine Terrell.
A Bengals team source told me the decision to cut Brandon LaFell had nothing to do with any requests made by him or his agent to leave, and said it’s doubtful such a request would ever be granted anyway. The source said it was more about giving the… https://t.co/f0Si3CV2eR
— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) August 2, 2018
Both sides of the story are plausible, but the end result remains the same. In 2017, LaFell was the Bengals’ oldest receiver (currently 31) and also led the receiving corps in total snaps (863). Only a week after the Bengals opened their 2018 training camp, he’ll be looking for a new team.
It’s a clear vote of confidence for the younger depth that the Bengals have at the position. A.J. Green, who turned 30 on Tuesday, is the unit’s new elder statesman. Behind him, the group is remarkably green. John Ross and Josh Malone, both sure bets to make the roster, will enter their second NFL campaigns. Tyler Boyd, the most likely receiver to become the Bengals’ new second fiddle, will enter his third. LaFell’s presence was insurance against those players failing to develop – the Bengals’ willingness to release him indicates that they already have.
LaFell’s agent likely read the writing on the wall and came to that conclusion himself – hence the release bid. Having LaFell on the market now will increase the veteran’s chances of catching on with another team before the season begins in earnest. He’ll look to sign with his fourth NFL squad since being Carolina’s third-round pick in 2010.