CINCINNATI — The Bengals have to cut their roster to 53 players by Saturday at 4 p.m. All 32 NFL teams will be doing the same this weekend.
Cincinnati had the worst record in the NFL last season, which means they have the top waiver priority. Any player that gets released and has less than four accrued seasons is subject to waivers.
The Bengals essentially get first 'dibs' on those players if they choose to claim them.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made an interesting move on Friday, just days after agreeing to terms with running back Leonard Fournette. The Bucs released running back Dare Ogunbowale.
Ogunbowale was a big part of their special teams unit last season. He played 311 special teams snaps, including 97 on kick returns and 98 in kickoff coverage according to Pro Football Focus. He also played 58 punt return snaps and 57 in punt coverage.
That's the type of player head coach Zac Taylor and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons could be looking for. The Wisconsin alum graded well as a specialist last season, finishing with a 66.1 overall grade on special teams according to PFF.
Ogunbowale was a special teams captain last season for the Bucs. The Bengals will likely have to decide if the 26-year-old is better on special teams than Semaje Perine, who is certainly capable of having success as a specialist.
Ogunbowale served as a personal protector on Tampa Bay's punt team. Running back Giovani Bernard held that role in training camp. Bernard didn't play there last year and doesn't have any experience at that spot. Clayton Fejedelem was the Bengals personal protector last season. He signed with the Dolphins in free agency.
Running backs Trayveon Williams and Jacques Patrick are also in the running for a roster spot. In fact, Perine could be on the outside looking in of the final 53-man roster.
Ogunbowale is a good example of what's going to transpire over the next few days. The Bengals will have a conversation about him and plenty of other players that get released. If they consider Ogunbowale an upgrade, then there's nothing stopping them from adding him to their roster.
The top waiver priority doesn't reset like in fantasy football. They can use the top priority more than once.
Keep track of every Bengals roster move over the next few days here.