May 26, 2024

Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is approaching the end of his three-year, $21.75 million contract signed in March 2021. According to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic (subscription required), it is unlikely that Awuzie will remain with Cincinnati in 2024.

In Dehner’s comprehensive piece, chronicling Awuzie’s journey from early success with the Bengals to his recovery from a 2022 ACL tear and recent struggles against the Steelers, it’s highlighted that Awuzie still sees himself as a starting cornerback. However, Cincinnati appears to be moving forward with recent draft picks Cam Taylor-Britt and DJ Turner as the starting cornerbacks, suggesting that unless Awuzie secures a starting contract elsewhere, he’ll likely be moving on.

There’s a possibility that Awuzie’s market may not develop as he hopes. Despite a strong 2021 and a promising start to 2022, his season was disrupted by an ACL tear in Week 8. The Bengals employed a rotation with Awuzie and rookie Turner early in the current season, and a back injury further disrupted his rhythm. Awuzie acknowledged not fully regaining his key speed element.

Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie chooses Bengals in free agency

Between Weeks 11 and 15, Awuzie seemed to be returning to form, posting a modest 73.6 passer rating during that period due to an injury to Taylor-Britt. However, in the Week 16 loss to Pittsburgh, he struggled against wide receiver George Pickens, potentially impacting his future prospects.

The remaining regular-season games and any potential playoff matchups will play a crucial role in determining Awuzie’s next destination and contract terms. Strong performances could attract interested teams, pointing to his initial success with Cincinnati and flashes of brilliance post-ACL tear, potentially justifying a lucrative, multiyear deal. On the other hand, if Awuzie faces difficulties, he might have to settle for a one-year prove-it contract, potentially increasing the chances of renegotiating with the Bengals.

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