The Cincinnati Bengals in the past have shown a willingness to keep the door open for some of their first-round picks. They re-signed Tyler Eifert, for example, in spite of the fact that he had major injuries throughout his career. Eifert has finally signed elsewhere this past offseason. Darqueze Dennard is another who was a surprising re-sign last year.
The former first-round cornerback was looking for new opportunities in free agency this year, and had reportedly agreed to a contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Like that of Michael Brockers with the Baltimore Ravens, however, that deal fell through, and so Dennard remains available.
But it doesn’t look likely that his former team will be interested. The Bengals have already signed two cornerbacks in free agency, including Trae Waynes, who will be an outside starter. The other signing is Mackenzie Alexander, who is expected to assume Dennard’s role in the slot.
Still on the roster, at least for now, are William Jackson III and Dre Kirkpatrick, although there is some belief that the team is open to moving on from Kirkpatrick, who has been a starter for half a decade, give or take, since being a first-round pick by the team—as was Jackson.
Even if they do choose to move on, Cincinnati would still have Jackson, Waynes, and Alexander as their top three cornerbacks, so if Dennard is seeking greater opportunity, he will not find it by returning to where he started, if the Bengals were even entertaining any interest in bringing him back, which does not appear to be the case.
He reportedly agreed to a three-year contract with the Jaguars worth $13.5 million with a $6 million signing bonus, which was announced on the eve of the first day of the new league year, yet over a week later, it was announced that the deal would not be consummated.
This is a reminder that deals are never final until a contract is signed. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, we see at least a couple of examples of this happening every year. Pittsburgh Steelers fans were worried earlier this offseason that they may be subject to this when it took weeks for the deal with Eric Ebron to be made official, which finally happened yesterday.
Would the Steelers, perchance, have any interest in Dennard, by the way? Not likely. They already have a core four players at cornerback, both inside and outside, with a young player developing. It is worth noting that their two inside cornerbacks, Mike Hilton and Cameron Sutton, are not under contract beyond this season, however. They could possibly bring in Dennard for cheaper than they would be able to re-sign Hilton next offseason.