There weren’t a lot of positives Monday night in the 25-11 loss at Tampa Bay, but the Bengals coaches must have liked what they saw from AJ McCarron in his NFL debut as the team released quarterback Josh Johnson today.
The team also released safety Erick Dargan and defensive tackle Kalafitoni Pole.
A seven-year veteran, Johnson did not play against the Buccaneers. His release means the Bengals are likely to follow their recent trend of keeping only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.
Keith Wenning, a Coldwater High School graduate who spent the 2014 season on the Baltimore Ravens practice squad, is the only other quarterback on the Bengals roster. He did not play Monday in Tampa either.
Johnson was in his second stint with the Bengals. He appeared in the closing minutes of two games in 2013 without attempting a pass.
He was 11 of 21 for 175 yards in the 23-10 victory against the New York Giants in the preseason opener, a game McCarron sat out. When McCarron returned to practice a few days after the Giants game, he returned to taking second-team reps.
McCarron was 11 of 15 for 97 yards in Tampa and led the Bengals on their only touchdown drive of the night.
Pole (Washington State) and Dargan (Oregon) were undrafted college free agents who saw limited action in the first two preseason games.
The moves leave the Bengals with 87 players on the roster. The team must cut down to 75 by next Tuesday. The deadline for the final 53-man roster is 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5.