The Bengals opted to sign Antonio Bryant over Terrell Owens when the two receivers visited the team in early March. The team gave Bryant a four-year, $28 million deal that included a $7 million signing bonus.
But Bryant, who has experienced knee problems that have limited him to just one practice in training camp, may not even make it to the regular season opener. There's plenty of speculation in Cincy about the team's plans with Bryant, and a league source familiar with the Bengals' situation tells me it's his understanding that the team is prepared to move on without him and eat the signing bonus. If the Bengals do cut Bryant, they would save $3 million in base salary.
For his part, Bryant remains upbeat about his situation and believes there's still a chance he'll play. It's certainly possible the Bengals will have a change of heart if Bryant shows rapid improvement in his condition. But that's not expected at this point, and the team is prepared to move on without him barring a change of heart.
"Time is only running out if you’re not making progress and I’ve been able to progress and do things I wasn’t capable of doing,” said Bryant before Thursday morning’s practice, according to Bengals.com. “It’s been encouraging and it's made me a little anxious ... we're getting there. We're getting really close."
The Bengals did wind up signing Owens shortly before training camp after the team realized that Bryant's knee problems would linger.