The Cincinnati Bengals are the latest team to take a flier on former LSU Tigers pass rusher Sam Montgomery, as the National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson reports that the team has signed the former third-round pick. Montgomery was picked up by the Houston Texans last year after slipping on draft day due to concerns over his work ethic and scheme fit, and he was released by the team in October for a violation of team rules. It was proven that he didn’t smoke marijuana, but he was released along with Cierre Wood and Willie Jefferson for violating team rules; the release did not deal with weed.
Anyway, Montgomery worked out with the Bengals shortly after his release before ultimately signing with the Oakland Raiders in December, and he didn’t do anything meaningful as a rookie. Now, Montgomery is with the Bengals after his time on the Raiders practice squad, and it’s clear that he’s a project player at this point. He could break out with proper coaching and could find his niche, but it will take some more work. He knows that one big misstep could cost him his career, and I think he’s in a good situation with Marvin Lewis, who picks up so many players with character concerns due to his ability to work with them.
Montgomery is undoubtedly a talented player, and the Bengals will hope that he can eventually turn into a starting-caliber player. The Bengals have a stacked defensive line even after losing Michael Johnson in free agency, because they were always prepared for him to go. Carlos Dunlap knows a thing or two about starring in the SEC, sliding on draft day, and becoming a very good player in the NFL. At this point, Montgomery holds Dunlap-like upside for the Bengals, and this signing carries no risk; if he struggles in training camp or gets into some off-field trouble, then they can easily cut him. His character concerns seem a bit exaggerated, especially since it’s easy to cut ties with a 23-year-old flier.