Updated: 4:15 p.m.
In response to the Kenny Irons injury and Chris Perry starting the season sidelined, the Bengals claimed rookie running back Cliff Dawson off waivers from the Colts on Sunday and released running back Quincy Wilson.
The exchange highlighted a flurry of moves that finalized the 53-man roster for the Sept. 10 opener against the Ravens.
Also claimed were the Saints' fifth-round pick from this season, cornerback David Jones out of Wingate, and the Jets' third-round pick from last year, former Ohio State linebacker Anthony Schlegel.
In order to make room the Bengals cut cornerback Blue Adams, who appeared only once in uniform this preseason because of a neck injury, and rookie offensive lineman Dan Santucci as they opted to go with just eight linemen.
Santucci, a seventh-round pick from Notre Dame, could be added to the practice squad Monday. Seven players that were cut Saturday were signed to the practice squad:
Safety John Busing, offensive lineman Dane Uperesa, wide receiver Bennie Brazell, fullback Chris Manderino, defensive tackle Matt Toeaina, tight end Tim Day, and guard Nate Livings.
In cutting Wilson for Dawson, a Harvard product, the Bengals are gambling that the 5-10, 212-pound Dawson's speed and pass-catching ability will prove to be more valuable than Wilson's reliable Rudi-Johnson-like consistency running the ball between the tackles.
But the Bengals are missing the speed of Irons and the pass-catching of Perry (out the first six weeks), and Dawson is a guy that extremely impressed Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson during the scouting process.
Now backing up tailback Johnson, who has led the NFL in carries the past three seasons, are the newcomer and third down back Kenny Watson. Dawson didn't play against the Bengals on Friday night with an ankle sprain believed to be mild.
The Bengals were also impressed with the 6-0, 196-pound Jones in the weeks leading up to the draft and saw nothing to dissuade them when the Saints practiced twice at Paul Brown Stadium last month.
The Bengals were counting on Adams' special teams experience, but he hasn't been healthy since the spring. On Saturday, Lewis said he would look at the waiver wire for players that he felt would make the roster better than the original 53.
So all three players could very well be active for the opener. The 6-1, 250-pound Schlegel didn't play much as a rookie from scrimmage last season and was active in only four games, but he's seen as a downhill middle linebacker who also played strong side for the Jets in playing mostly on special teams. He made seven tackles in the Jets preseason finale last week.
That gives the Bengals seven linebackers, a position Lewis said on Saturday he was looking to add one or two more players.
Also, clearing waivers and reverting to the season-ending injured reserve list were kicker Aaron Elling, cornerback Brandon Williams and cornerback T.J. Wright.