The Cincinnati Bengals severed ties with their longest tenured player today, releasing 31-year-old defensive end Robert Geathers in addition to cutting wide receiver Greg Little.
A fourth-round draft pick in 2004, Geathers played 11 seasons with the Bengals and appeared in 152 games, which ranks third in franchise history among defensive linemen behind Tim Krumrie (188) and Eddie Edwards (170).
“Robert has been with us for all my seasons except the first one, and he has been a team leader as well as a very productive player,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement. “He’s an incredible teammate and a true professional, a big part of the winning seasons we’ve achieved. If Robert elects to pursue an opportunity with another NFL team, the timing of this move will allow him the best possible chance at that.”
Cutting Geathers, who was entering the final season a three-year contract, saves nearly $3.1 million in cap room this season with no dead money.
A two-time Bengals team leader in sacks, Geathers is one of eight Cincinnati players to have logged double-digit sacks in a season, registering 10.5 in 2006. His Bengals career totals include 473 tackles, 34.0 sacks, three INTs, 16 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
He scored two touchdowns (one fumble return and one interception return), and he holds the Bengals record for most fumble return yards in a season (113). He shares the team record for longest single fumble return (75 yards).
Geathers is also a former Bengals team selection for the NFL’s Ed Block Courage Award, having earned that designation for 2013 for his work in rehabbing from a torn triceps. He came back in 2014 to play in all 16 regular-season games, plus the Wild Card playoff. He logged 21 regular-season tackles, one sack, one INT and three passes defensed.
Little’s release gives the Bengals an addition $745,000 under the salary cap. A second-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2011, Little signed with Cincinnati in October after wide receiver Marvin Jones went on season-ending Injured Reserve with a foot injury. Little appeared in six games with one start and caught six passes for 69 yards.