9 year NFL veteran Antonio Bryant caught as many as 83 passes for Tampa Bay as recently as two seasons ago, so with that in mind, perhaps you might understand why the Bengals took a flyer on the injured wide receiver. Having proven himself a non-factor during training camp, however, Bryant finds himself buried underneath Terrell Owens and rookie Jordan Shipley on the Cincinnati depth chart, so his release Sunday would not be a huge shock, were it not for the considerable amount of guaranteed cash the franchise is flushing down the toilet. The Enquirer’s Joe Reedy provides the details behind “one of the most expensive decisions in the team’s 43 seasons of existence.”
Without playing a down, Bryant made $6.95 million via a $3.6 million roster bonus, $3.1 million roster bonus which was paid on March 21 and $250,000 for taking part in the team’s offseason workout program.
He could be making even more. Bryant’s agent, Lamont Smith, said that the team did not approach him about an injury settlement and that they would file a grievance to get the $1.55 million in base salary he was scheduled to make.
“Our position is you can’t cut a guy if he’s hurt. We know what the rules are. We expect to be paid his salary for the year,” Smith said. “He understands what his rights are. We’ve talked about it over the last three weeks and he understands it’s a business.”
When asked if he thought he would be released last Thursday, Bryant said: “That’s not a decision for me to make. I know what I’m capable of doing. Whatever their decision is that’s the one that’s made upstairs. That’s not the one for me to make. My thing is to play football and whenever I’m able to do that I’ll play to the best of my ability.”