The Burfict Ending
Vontaze Burfict is probably the most hated player in the NFL but Ndamukong Suh is fighting for the top slot. Burfict is the kind of player that if you have him – you love him, if you don’t – you hate him. But now it seems it’s the latter either way.
Burfict has had an injury riddled 2018 season which has significantly hurt his performance on the field. He is slow, cant get off of blocks, pass coverage is still an issue. It seems as though Burfict may have slid out of his prime. Sticking with the injury narrative, Burfict has had several concussions that can put his health after the game in serious jeopardy.
So, there are a few options for Vontaze and the Bengals after this season: Retire, Cut/trade him, keep him.
Let’s discuss all three.
Despite entering the league in 2012 and only playing in 7 seasons (only one full season) it isn’t that far-fetched for him to retire. Let’s say he gets cut, would anyone give him an opportunity considering his reputation, play, and injury history? It may also be the best and smartest move for him. I think that he still has a passion for playing football at this point in his career, and is happy doing that with the Bengals.
I don’t think that Burfict garners much trade value now. With multiple injuries and his recent play would anyone want him via trade? If so, what would they be willing to give up? Not much.
Although there is always a possibility, especially when bad defenses are in need of a linebacker. But the Bengals are in the position now anyways. So what would Burfict do there to help that he hasn’t done here. The Bengals cutting him is more likely than a trade. When Mike Brown values a player that value is most likely set no matter what. And Burfict could be cut to increase the cap and that money could go towards a free agent or an extension for A.J. Green and/or Tyler Boyd or even resigning a player.
Why is everyone calling Burfict a “distraction”? I get the desire to cut him now that he isn’t producing but I’m not sure what he has done this year to be a distraction. In fact, I don’t think anyone has talked about him in weeks. I used to be on board with the Cut Burfict bandwagon, but I started to flip.
Burfict is 28 and is by far (usually) the best LB We have. Whenever he has played healthy/for most of the season – he has put up close to / past 100 tackles and a few turnovers. I’m not saying he is going to lead this LB unit to a turnaround but pairing him with a Rookie LB like White or Bush isn’t the worst thing. Can we really afford to go into the offseason/draft with our LBs being Vigil, Nickerson, Evans, and Jefferson? (Assuming we let Brown go.)
Now I do think that keeping Preston Brown would be a good move, as long as it’s at a reasonable price and it doesn’t affect another signing/extension. If Brown is here then that makes it easier for the Bengals to let go of Burfict.
Realistically, I don’t think that Burfict will be cut. At least not until July or August. This is because, they want him as a security option in case the draft doesn’t work out and to see if he can get back to the healthy leader he used to be. This is a huge factor in my opinion. Healthy Burfict has always produced, he just hasn’t been healthy this season. I think if the Bengals start to feel that Burfict is a liability more than a help on Defense; he will be cut.