CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals released starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick on Tuesday, another move to overhaul their secondary after a 2-14 season.
Kirkpatrick was a first-round pick in 2012 and started 67 games in eight seasons. He missed 10 games last season with a knee injury.
Kirkpatrick was involved in the most significant play of coach Zac Taylor’s first season. He bumped into A.J. Green while breaking up a pass during a 7-on-7 drill in the first practice of training camp in Dayton, Ohio. Green landed awkwardly and suffered a severe injury to his left ankle, requiring surgery and sidelining him for the season.
“Dre was a part of the Bengals’ organization for many years, and displayed passion, energy and competitiveness both on and off the field,” Taylor said.
In his six games last season, Kirkpatrick had one sack, broke up four passes, and didn’t get an interception. During his eight seasons, he had 10 interceptions and three sacks.
It’s the Bengals’ third move in free agency to improve the secondary. They also released cornerback B.W. Webb, who started 12 games last season in part because of Kirkpatrick’s injury, and agreed to a deal with former Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes.
Waynes and William Jackson III — a first-round pick in 2016 — are expected to start next season.
Slot cornerback Darqueze Dennard — another first-round pick — is a free agent after six seasons in Cincinnati. He agreed to a three-year deal with Jacksonville, but couldn’t agree on final details and parted ways with the Jaguars.