We’ve heard that Antonio Bryant is feeling that he’s closer to returning to the field. Beyond that, much about Bryant’s immediate future is still up in the air.
According to sources, it’s been a distinct possibility the Bengals could reach an injury settlement with Brant, because of lingering knee issues that have kept him out of practice since the first day of training camp. Bryant’s agent, Lamont Smith, though, said he hasn’t heard from the team on that front.
“That would be the protocol,” Smith told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “Because you would think they would call and say, ‘This isn’t going the way we thought, and let’s try and do something.’ From what I understand, things have progressed the past week.”
While we wait for Bryant to continue progressing (aka practice), two possibilities are either off the table or very unlikely. One certainty is that he won’t be placed on the reserve/PUP list, keeping him out for the first six weeks of the season. Because Bryant practiced on the first day of camp, he became ineligible for the active/PUP list and thus can’t be transferred to the reserve list. Placing Bryant on injured reserve doesn’t appear to be an option, either. Per Hobson, Bryant is due a $3 million bonus if he’s with the team on opening day.
Although the Bengals could certainly cut Bryant, eating all the money paid to him at this point, the possibility of an injury grievance would still exist. The options at this point appear to be keeping Bryant on the roster this season or reaching an injury settlement and cutting ties.
For those with an eye on the calendar, the first NFL cutdown date is Sept. 4.