What would be the point of the Bengals releasing Antonio Bryant now?

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Antonio Bryant  watches play against the  Washington Redskins   at FedEx Field, September 27, 2004 in Landover, Maryland. The Cowboys defeated the Redskins 21 to 18.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

A report by Newsday’s Bob Glauber has me a little confused.

According to Glauber (or at least Newsday’s headline), the Bengals are “ready to release Antonio Bryant.” Glauber writes that there is “plenty of speculation” that the Bengals are ready to cut bait on Bryant, who has been limited to just one training camp practice because of knee problems.

The idea makes sense if Bryant was playing on a cheap one-year deal, but he’s not. He signed a four-year, $28 million contract in March, which included $8.25 million in guaranteed money. They’ve already paid him $7 million thus far, so why wouldn’t they see if Bryant’s knee could hold up at the start of the season? It’s not like they need the roster space at the moment, seeing as how they only need to cut five more players by August 31 to meet the NFL’s roster guidelines.

The only way this makes sense is if the Bengals were convinced that Bryant wouldn’t be healthy enough to play this season. But even then, they could place him on IR, use the roster spot for a healthy receiver and then hope Bryant is healthy heading into next year. I don’t see how coming to terms on an injury settlement helps the Bengals at this moment, unless Bryant is walking around Cincinnati tipping over garbage cans and punching babies and the team just wants to get rid of him.

Considering he worked out on Wednesday, it would make sense for the Bengals to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to Bryant’s health. There’s no reason to eat $7 million and not at least see if he will be healthy enough to suit up at some point this season.

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