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#pounditFriday, March 1, 2024

Bengals lose key skill player in free agency

Zac Taylor on the sidelines

Jan 2, 2022; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor paces the sideline in the first quarter during a Week 17 NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are getting a bit of an unpleasant surprise this week.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported Tuesday that running back Samaje Perine has left the Bengals to sign with the Denver Broncos in free agency. Perine will be receiving a two-year, $7.5 million deal with another $1 million in incentives.

The 27-year-old Perine had mostly served as the third-down and change-of-pace back behind starter Joe Mixon in Cincinnati. But he had actually been a more efficient runner than Mixon over the last three seasons (4.4 yards per carry vs. 3.9 for Mixon). Perine also did well during multiple fill-in starts in 2022 when Mixon missed time with a concussion.

There was some speculation that the Bengals could make Perine their starter and cut Mixon, especially with Mixon’s recent off-the-field troubles. But now Perine is out of the equation in Cincinnati and instead joins a Broncos team where he will be a nice insurance policy for Javonte Williams, who continues to recover from multiple knee ligament tears.

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