For the first time in a long time, there’s buzz around the Cincinnati Bengals.
But the excitement around Joe Burrow’s rookie season took a hit on Tuesday with the loss of a defensive anchor. Head coach Zac Taylor told reporters that cornerback Trae Waynes suffered a pectoral injury this week and will be sidelined for a while.
NFL Network reports that Waynes is expected to miss at least two months and is seeking a second opinion.
Big offseason signing
The Bengals signed Waynes, 28, to a three-year, $42-million contract during the offseason. It was his first NFL contract since his rookie deal after the Minnesota Vikings made him a first-round draft pick in 2015. He’s the top secondary player on Cincinnati’s roster.
“It’s just an unfortunate situation,” Taylor told reporters. “These things happen during training camp. He was working hard for us … It’s nobody’s fault. We just move on, get him healthy and back on the field.”
Waynes’ camp might not agree with that assessment.
Offseason conflict over workouts, bonus
Waynes’ agent Brian Murphy criticized the Bengals in the offseason for not paying his $15 million signing bonus immediately after they agreed to the contract. Like many players this offseason, Waynes had to wait to sign his deal until he could enter the team facility for a physical amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Murphy told Sports Illustrated in June that he advised Waynes against performing drills in the interim to avoid risking injury and his signing bonus.
“Obviously, there’s no physical activity there, and he’d really want to be in the best shape of life, so he can play the best football of his life,” Murphy said on July 2. “But because of the Bengals’ decision, he can’t do that.
“So yeah, he’s gotta be creative, he’s gotta find different ways to be at peak physical performance. But assuming he’s not doing the one-on-one drills, assuming he’s not battling other players, he’s just not gonna be where he otherwise would be in a normal year.”
Whether or not there’s finger pointing, the injury’s a significant Blow for Waynes and the Bengals.
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