The Bengals have released linebacker Vontaze Burfict, making him a free agent five days after free agency began. So what’s next for one of the dirtiest player in the league?
Last year, conflicting reports emerged regarding whether the Raiders were trying to trade for Burfict, a move that would have reunited him with former Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Now that the Raiders have traded for receiver Antonio Brown, adding Burfict would become delicate and popcorn-inducing.
It was an illegal hit from Burfict on Brown that helped the Steelers snatch victory from the Bengals in a playoff game to cap the 2015 season, prompting both Burfict and former Bengals cornerback Pacman Jones to suggest that Brown faked the concussion he suffered. The league suspended Burfict for the first three games of the 2016 season in response to the blow to Brown’s head.
The Vikings, in theory, could be a destination for Burfict, given that coach Mike Zimmer served as defensive coordinator in Cincinnati before Guenther. And how about the Browns, where G.M. John Dorsey currently seems to be rolling the dice on anyone/everyone that can help the team win, character notwithstanding?
Burfict, despite his obvious flaws, has consistently been viewed as a guy who can get his teammates properly focused and motivated. However, Burfict’s habit of losing his focus has cost the Bengals dearly, including most importantly a play that kept them from winning their first postseason game since January 1991.