A veteran wide receiver with ties to the Patriots is reportedly set to hit the open market.
For the past two seasons, Brandon LaFell has played with the Cincinnati Bengals, his third team in his NFL career. Thursday, it was announced that there will be no third season for him with them.
Reportedly the Bengals are cutting LaFell, as requested by him and his agents.
“We have been lobbying for his release for some time now and appreciate the Bengals granting our request,” said LaFell’s agent, Jonathan Feinsod.
The team’s head coach Marvin Lewis had stated earlier this week that LaFell was facing significant pressure from the Bengals’ other receivers and was even in a battle for playing time.
LaFell is free to sign elsewhere once the transaction clears.
In Cincinnati, LaFell received a high volume of targets (106 in 2016 and 88 in 2017), but the Bengals struggled to re-capture the formula that made them a playoff team throughout the early part of the decade, finishing 6-9-1 in 2016 and 7-9 in 2017.
However, LaFell still had some impressive numbers: In 2016, he had 64 catches for 862 yards and six touchdowns, and though he regressed in 2017, he still had 52 catches for 548 yards and three touchdowns.
With LaFell now on the market, both the Patriots and the Panthers might be interested to once again sign their former receiver. LaFell’s release by the Bengals comes at a particularly opportune time for the Patriots: With a four-game suspension to Julian Edelman and the release of Jordan Matthews earlier this week, New England have found themselves in the market for another wide receiver.
As for the Panthers, it is less likely for them to make a move to bring back LaFell. Carolina has already addressed its needs at receiver, bringing aboard free agent Torrey Smith while also drafting D.J. Moore in the first round of the draft out of Maryland.