Updated: 3:10 p.m.
AdamsJust 13 months after signing three-time Pro Bowler Sam Adams to anchor their run defense, the Bengals terminated his contract Monday to make way for younger defensive tackles.
The move comes the same day they announced signing Kenderick Allen, a fifth-year player with the Packers in 2006, two weeks after they drafted Oregon's Matt Toeaina in the sixth round, and three weeks after they signed Denver's Michael Myers in free agency. The move also basically assures second-year man Domata Peko starts next to John Thornton in the middle of the Bengals 4-3.
Adams had no comment.
The move doesn't appear to be made for salary-cap reasons, given that the Bengals figure to save only $700,000 by cutting Adams one year into his three–year deal. He was scheduled to make $1.5 million, but the acceleration of his $1.2 million signing bonus takes up $800,000. The Bengals will also save $250,000 from an offseason bonus clause that they will not have to pay Adams.
Adams, who turns 34 next month, started all 16 games last season. But after he spent the spring and much of training camp off the field with the strength and conditioning staff, he injured a knee in his only preseason appearance and ended up as part of a tackle rotation that saw the emergence of Peko and required arthroscopic surgery after the season.
Adams finished with 25 tackles, two sacks, and a pass defensed compared to Peko's 49 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a forced fumble.
It was a tough call for head coach Marvin Lewis, the Ravens defensive coordinator during Adams' heyday in the middle of Baltimore's record-setting defense at the beginning of the decade.
"Releasing Sam is a very difficult decision," Lewis said in a press release, "but the timing is such that it provides Sam the opportunity to obtain a roster spot with another team. Sam has had an outstanding NFL career, and we wish him and his family the very best."
Adams had taken a high-profile in the community as part owner of the Arena Football League2 Jungle Kats.
The Bengals didn't allow big numbers against the run last season. They finished in the top half of the league (at 15) and allowed just four 100-yard rushers compared to five in 2005. In '06 they allowed 4.2 yards per carry, pretty much smack in the middle with 16 teams having a lower and better number.
But those were high numbers against the rush for teams that had a healthy Adams. From 2000 to 2004, Adams started at least 14 games for three different teams (Baltimore, Oakland, Buffalo) that never finished lower than eighth in the NFL against the run.
The '06 Bengals finished 31st against the pass, although only 14 teams logged more than their 35 sacks.
The move makes them younger on a starting line in which Adams, Thornton (30) and left end Bryan Robinson (33 next month) were all at least 30. Myers, 31, and Allen, 28, are most likely to be projected into the rotation.