Cincinnati Bengals’ Extra: What’s next for AJ McCarron and the Bengals?

Bengals Xtra is a weekly column from beat writers Jim Owczarski and Paul Dehner Jr., looking behind the scenes of Bengals football.The Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) are in Jacksonville today, faced with another opportunity to even their record and legitimately climb into the AFC Wild Card picture with a victory over the 4-3 Jaguars.But with the attempted move of backup quarterback AJ McCarron to Cleveland on Tuesday, it does set the table for an interesting offseason. More: The real story behind McCarron not being traded Doc: Lucky McCarron may get to choose his next step Listen: The story behind the botched deal and Bengals-Jags previewSince McCarron finished the 2015 season in place of an injured Andy Dalton, he had been the subject of trade rumors – but nothing more. Until Oct. 31, there has never been a true “offer” to the Bengals. If teams called and wanted to have a serious conversation, a first-round draft pick would have had to be on the table. Such a discussion never occurred.Before the 2017 draft, the Cleveland Browns made overtures but no offers. But, their No. 33 overall pick (which the Browns eventually traded to Green Bay) could have brought McCarron north. It didn’t happen.Tuesday represented a change in price.And now it’s public.So what happens now?Well, the Bengals and the rest of the league will have to wait for a panel of up to four arbitrators to decide a grievance that will go a long way in determining McCarron’s future. McCarron contends he should have accrued a season toward free agency in his rookie year of 2014, whereas it is currently considered that he did not.The Enquirer learned through multiple league sources familiar with the grievance that it should be decided by March -- but it shouldn't be assumed. It is possible a decision could be made after the beginning of free agency. This would not be ideal for several reasons, the least of which being potential open jobs and salary cap dollars would Continue Reading

Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones signs with Cincinnati Bengals after one-year hiatus

May 10 - Adam "Pacman" Jones signed a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, the latest stop in the National Football League for a player with a history of long kick returns and off-the-field troubles.Terms of the cornerback's contract weren't disclosed. The Cincinnati Enquirer said it was for two years at the league minimum of about $630,000.Jones, 26, didn't play last season after being cut by the Dallas Cowboys.He joined the Cowboys in April 2008 from the Tennessee Titans near the end of a one-year suspension imposed by the NFL after his fifth arrest in less than two years.In December 2007, Jones pleaded no-contest to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct for behavior at a Las Vegas strip club. Jones was ejected from the club shortly before a triple shooting that left an employee paralyzed.His playing time in Dallas was limited by a back injury and a four-game suspension imposed after he scuffled with a bodyguard assigned to keep the defensive back out of trouble.Jones, the sixth pick in the 2005 draft out of West Virginia University, had four interceptions for Tennessee during his first two NFL seasons, returning one for a touchdown.In 2006 he led the NFL in punt returns with a 12.9-yard average and ran back three for touchdowns from 53, 90 and 81 yards. He also averaged 25.8 yards on 70 career kickoff returns. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson arrested for assault in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas - Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson was arrested Tuesday and charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly punching a bar employee in the face nearly a month ago. Benson was booked into the Travis County jail where he later posted bail and was released, authorities said. According to the Austin police arrest affidavit, Benson was at Annie's West bar in the Sixth Street entertainment district on May 30 when he got into an altercation with another patron that left him spitting blood from a cut lip. After staff intervened, witnesses told police Benson shoved a bar worker and was verbally abusive. After being asked to leave, Benson was escorted to the door. Bar employee Bryan White told police that once outside, Benson complained that "all these white boys are ganging up on me and kicking me out," then punched White in the face. Benson's attorney, Sam Bassett, said his client "looks forward to telling his side of the story at the appropriate time." "Though he does not entirely agree with the version of facts recited in the court filings," Bassett said, "he does not wish to make his comments public at this time." "Mr. Benson has always been willing to cooperate with the Austin Police Department to tell his version of what happened so long as he could have a lawyer present," he said. "The Austin Police Department decided to go forward with obtaining a warrant without obtaining Mr. Benson's side of the story." The arrest is just the latest brush with the law for Benson. In 2008, he was arrested twice in a month on alcohol charges that were later dropped. While in college at the University of Texas, he was suspended for a game and pleaded no contest to a charge of criminal trespassing for forcing his way into an apartment to find a television he said was stolen from him. Drafted in the first round by the Bears in 2005, Benson's legal troubles prompted Chicago to cut him in 2008. He signed as a free agent Continue Reading

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga arrested on DUI charge

CINCINNATI - Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga has pleaded not guilty in northern Kentucky to drunken and careless driving.Covington police spokesman Spike Jones says Maualuga hit a parking meter and two parked cars early Friday with his 2003 Pontiac. There was minor damage.The 23-year-old was held about seven hours at the Kenton County jail before being released on his own recognizance. Court records show he entered a plea and was ordered to return this month for a hearing.The Bengals' 2009 second-round draft choice from Southern Cal started the first 15 games of his rookie season before breaking his left ankle.Team spokesman Jack Brennan says he won’t comment until the case is resolved. A message has been left for agent Gary Uberstine. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Chris Henry’s fiancee Loleini Tonga speaks at funeral for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver

WESTWEGO, La. - Chris Henry's fiancee wept as she spoke about the Cincinnati Bengals receiver at his funeral Tuesday, and she said while she may have helped steer him out of trouble, he changed her life.Tonga during what police described as a domestic dispute. Police are investigating, but no charges have been filed. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Henry's teammates were among the hundreds who packed the New Orleans Hornets practice facility for the funeral. The Bengals wore round lapels with Henry's No. 15. Many others wore red ribbons with a small photo of Henry that read: "In loving memory" and "Chris 'Slim' Henry." Goodell said everyone makes mistakes. "His future as a husband and a father were important to him," Goodell said. "He was a young man that struggled, made some decisions that he regretted, but he put himself on the right path. And I'm proud of that. I'm proud of him." Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer and head coach Marvin Lewis were expected to deliver eulogies. Lewis said before the service that Henry touched a lot of people in his very short life. "It's a bright story and one that didn't get to get all the way to the end of it which is the most unfortunate part," the coach said. "We'll miss Chris' sparkling smile." Henry grew up in the small, suburban community of Belle Chasse. Shane Shelley, 26, was Henry's high school QB when they made it to the state title game in 2001, their senior year. "It's a sad day for Belle Chasse. We really lost a good friend, a brother, one of my best friends," said a watery-eyed Shelley. "It's hard. We lost one of us. We're going to miss him. We love him." Henry died Thursday, a day after he fell out of the truck in North Carolina, where he had been recovering from a broken forearm that ended his season. Police said Henry and his fiancee got into an argument at the Tonga family home and she drove away on a curvy residential street near downtown Charlotte. Henry jumped into the truck's bed. A Continue Reading

Chris Henry death shocks Cincinnati Bengals teammates, NFL — WITH 911 CALL

Chad Ochocinco's eyes welled up as the grief-stricken Bengals wide receiver talked just hours after his good friend and teammate Chris Henry died.Brandon Jacobs struggled to come to grips with the fact that his childhood friend from Louisiana was just beginning to turn his life around when it suddenly ended. Henry, the talented but troubled Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, died yesterday morning at a Charlotte hospital after falling out of the rear of a moving pickup truck Wednesday afternoon. He was 26. "It hurts," said Jacobs, the Giants running back. "It really hurt me. He just got his life straight, too." Henry's death is the second tragedy to hit the Bengals this season. Vikki Zimmer, the wife of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, died in October. "He was doing everything right, he was doing everything right," an emotionally-overwhelmed Ochocinco said in Cincinnati. "My grandma always says you never question the man upstairs on decisions he makes. Everyone makes mistakes, but I don't see how Chris was supposed to go already, especially when he was on the right path. Other than that, he's going to be missed." Charlotte authorities have assigned homicide detectives to investigate what they are calling it a "domestic situation." Police said the domestic dispute began Wednesday at a home about a half-mile away from where Henry was found. He had jumped into the bed of the pickup as his fiancee - Loleini Tonga - was driving away from the residence, and at some point when she was driving "came out of the back of the vehicle," authorities said. Police released two 911 tapes with one witness describing that she saw a black man with no shirt on and his arm in a cast beating on the back of a truck window with a woman driving the vehicle. Neighbor Lee Hardy told WLWT-TV and The Cincinnati Enquirer that he was working in his yard when the truck left the driveway. Hardy said Henry was yelling that he needed to talk to the woman behind the wheel. "He said, 'If you take off, Continue Reading

Cincinnati Bengals sign free agent kicker Marshall Koehn

With Randy Bullock straining his back late Monday, the Cincinnati Bengals hoped their kicker would recover enough during the week to be able to kick on Sunday.The club signed free-agent kicker Marshall Koehn as an insurance policy, the team announced Saturday.To make room on the roster, the Bengals released safety Derron Smith.Bullock missed practice altogether on Wednesday, kicked on a limited basis on Thursday and did not kick Friday, per head coach Marvin Lewis. The team determined Saturday they needed insurance in case Bullock was not feeling well enough in warmups to perform in an important game Sunday.So, enter Koehn, who would make his NFL debut in that case.Though he hasn’t kicked in a regular season game, Koehn kicked for the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings in the preseason in 2015 and 2017.Koehn, 25, made 28 of 36 (77.8 percent) of his field goals and 92 of 96 (95.8 percent) of his extra points at the University of Iowa from 2012-15.With the Vikings this preseason, Koehn was 2-for-3 on field goals and 5-for-6 on extra points in four games. He also had seven touchbacks on kickoffs. He made a long of 58 yards indoors for the Vikings in Week 3 of the preseason.The Bengals brought Koehn and two other free agent kickers in for a workout on Thursday.Bulock beat out fifth-round draft pick Jake Elliott in training camp and is 8-for-10 on field goals and 14-for-14 on extra points this season.While it will be a concern that Koehn hasn’t practiced at all with the team, the club has confidence in the chemistry and timing of long-snapper Clark Harris and holder Kevin Huber. This offseason, when the Bengals had three placekickers in camp for a time, Huber said it doesn’t take long for him to figure out how a different kicker likes the ball spun and held – and he and Harris conduct the workouts with free agents who do come in.“It’s been pretty consistent,” Huber said in the offseason. “There’s probably a couple Continue Reading

How the Cleveland Browns’ trade for Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron fell apart

On Wednesday afternoon, AJ McCarron will be at his locker in the Cincinnati Bengals locker room and having to, again, answer questions about why he is, well, at his locker and not at a press conference being introduced as the newest Cleveland Browns quarterback.The Enquirer communicated with six league sources with knowledge of the broken deal between the two AFC North rivals, first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and the unspectacular crux of it is this: the clock ran out.And both teams missed out.The Enquirer learned the Bengals would have received second- and third-round picks in the 2018 draft. After compensatory picks were handed out for departed free agents, the Bengals would have likely had 12 total selections and six in the first three rounds.McCarron would finally get his chance to play regularly and compete to land a long-term starting job and the Browns would have gotten a quarterback their coaching staff was familiar with and believed in."It's not a good situation," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Wednesday. "AJ's a very valuable member of this team and I told him as such (Tuesday) after everything. Frankly, I was relieved. So I don't have to go through those gymnastics of the next step. He's a great kid. He's a true team player. He's a leader. He's a leader on this football team and that's why we felt like he was such a valuable asset. And the man upstairs (Mike Brown) was very clear about that, of how we felt about him."The matter of why time ran out is another story.The day began with the Browns calling the Bengals to initiate talks – discussions the Bengals were reluctant to participate in – resulting in offers and counteroffers.The long-time price tag of a first-round pick for McCarron had dropped, but at some point during the day the Bengals made it clear there was no more room for negotiation.About an hour before the deadline, the Browns rejected the final set of terms the Bengals had put forth – McCarron for the two Continue Reading

Why the Cincinnati Bengals did not make a move at the NFL trade deadline

The Walkthru is a daily look at the Bengals, your questions and whatever else spills from the brains of beat writers Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski. You can follow them on Twitter (@pauldehnerjr,@JimOwczarski), Instagram (@enqbengals) as well as Enquirer Sports on Facebook for behind the scenes and breaking news. UPDATE: The NFL trade deadline was 4 p.m. on Oct. 31, and passed without the Cincinnati Bengals making a trade. This column has been updated for content and tense to reflect that.With the Cincinnati Bengals clinging to their playoff hopes at 3-4 and in need of improvement across several offensive areas – should they have made a deal?It's easy to say yes. The Enquirer had learned the club wasn't really interested in making a move – even along the offensive line, but the Bengals had the necessary resources to do so.According to the National Football League’s Players Association (NFLPA), the club has just over $11.8 million available in cap space for this year (though the club will say it’s lower than that) and have plenty of draft capital to work with, due in large part to three free agents who left and some trades they already made.The club lost a 2018 seventh-rounder to Jacksonville for acquiring defensive end Chris Smith in April but got it back in August for sending linebacker Marquis Flowers to New England.So, the Bengals have their entire seven-round draft class intact for 2018, and the freakishly accurate compensatory pick projection has them getting an additional third rounder for Kevin Zeitler, an extra fifth-rounder for Andrew Whitworth and – believe it or not – an extra seventh rounder for Margus Hunt.That’s 10 picks – and seven in the first five rounds – to infuse into a roster that couldn’t find room for four of the 11 picks they had in 2016. (The team has nine unrestricted free agents heading into 2018, and one restricted free agent in AJ McCarron.)And Continue Reading

A first look at the Jacksonville Jaguars as the Cincinnati Bengals start road trip

A first look at the Cincinnati Bengals’ first of three straight road games as they head to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars at EverBank Field on Sunday at 1 p.m.The Bengals are coming off a nail-biter, beating the Indianapolis Colts 24-23 despite fumbling away a punt, having a field goal blocked, fumbling away a possession and giving up three sacks and six quarterback hits on offense and giving up over five yards per carry to a 35-year-old running back on defense. But, the defense scored a touchdown and made the game-saving fourth-down stop, putting the Bengals at 3-4 and once again on the verge of playoff relevancy.The Jaguars are coming off a bye and the acquisition of two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to an already-stacked defensive unit that is No. 1 in points allowed, No. 6 overall and No. 1 against the pass. Their last game was also against the Colts, on Oct. 22, a 27-0 victory in which they sacked Jacoby Brissett 10 times and put up 518 yards of total offense. They are 4-3 and currently in one of the two AFC Wild Card spots.Jaguars players of note on offense Leonard Fournette, RBThe Bengals liked the rookie running back out of LSU but the Jaguars snapped him up with the No. 4 overall pick for a reason. The 6-foot, 240-pound running back is without question the engine of the offense, averaging 21.7 carries and 99.3 yards per game. He leads the league in rushing touchdowns with six, and has proven he can catch the ball a bit too with 15 receptions for another 136 yards and a score. Marquise Lee, WRThe Jaguars don’t throw the ball a lot on purpose, but when they do the 26-year-old fourth-year player is one of Blake Bortles’ primary targets. He is averaging a team-high 15.1 yards per reception – by far a career high – but is only bringing in 52.2 percent of his targets (24 catches on 46 targets). He has to catch a touchdown. Blake Bortles, QBOnce considered the franchise quarterback, the fourth-year signal Continue Reading