As part of their efforts to reshape their secondary, Cincinnati Bengals decided to say goodbye to veteran corner Dre Kirkpatrick. The team officially confirmed the move on Tuesday.
Kirkpatrick, who was Bengals’ first-round pick in 2012, leaves the franchise just two years after signing a $52.5 million contract extension. By releasing him now, Cincinnati saved around $8 million in salary.
The 30-year-old was coming off an injury that limited him to just six games in 2019. He recorded 33 tackles, four pass deflections, and 1.0 sacks last season.
“Dre was a part of the Bengals’ organization for many years and displayed passion, energy, and competitiveness both on and off the field,” said Bengals’ second-year head coach Zac Taylor in a statement. “We appreciate his many contributions to our team and community over the years, and wish him the best moving forward.”
Bengals shouldn’t miss Kirkpatrick all that much, considering their huge spending spree on secondary this offseason. The most significant addition was bringing Minnesota Vikings’ corner Trae Waynes in free agency, signing him to a three-year, $42 million deal. Bengals also added veteran CB Mackensie Alexander and former New Orleans Saints’ safety Vonn Bell.
Cincinnati hopes that these moves will help them solidify their defense, which allowed 8.26 yards per pass attempt in 2019. This was the second-worst rate in the entire NFL.