For the next three days we're taking a look at Cincinnati Bengals who could be on the dreaded training camp roster bubble later this summer. These are players whom we think you should expect to see fighting for spots when the eventual 75-man preseason roster gets trimmed to the regular-season 53.
As permitted by league rules, the roster currently stands at 89.
We're not going in any particular order. After looking at Taylor Mays, Brandon Tate, J.K. Schaffer, Cobi Hamilton, Rex Burkhead, James Wilder Jr., Dontay Moch and Jayson DiManche, we look at defensive end Sam Montgomery:
Why he's on the bubble: With respect to Montgomery, the timing of our Bengals "bubble watch" couldn't have been worse. Then again, come to think of it, maybe it couldn't have been better. This may very well be a welcomed football-focused distraction from the other attention he's been getting since his arrest last Wednesday morning near his hometown of Greenwood, South Carolina. He was traveling 89 mph in a 55 mph zone. Since the arrest, he's been in the national spotlight because of apparent questionable methods the officer used during the arrest. Dashcam footage of Montgomery's arrest released Monday night showed the officer asking Montgomery two questions before informing him he was being jailed. "You military?" the officer first asked. "No sir," Montgomery said. "You NFL?" When Montgomery said yes, the state patrolman said he was being arrested. As he tried to get the bigger Montgomery in a position where he could put handcuffs on him, the officer threatened to use his taser. Montgomery seemed to be cooperating the whole time, despite having difficulty understanding some of the officer's commands. The video also doesn't appear to show Montgomery being read his full Miranda rights. The patrolman has since been suspended.
As Montgomery now deals with the legal matter, he also has to continue getting himself ready for training camp in Cincinnati. It's not guaranteed he'll end up with a roster spot because of the logjam ahead of him at defensive end. Signed out of free agency earlier this offseason, Montgomery has hoped to use his time with the Bengals as an opportunity to better his image. He was one of three players the Texans released one weekend last season for rules violations. ESPN.com reported the violations stemmed from marijuana use, although Montgomery's agent vehemently claimed that wasn't the case. Regardless the nature of the infraction, Montgomery still came to Cincinnati walking a bit of a fine line because of that incident. He virtually stepped into Paul Brown Stadium on bubble watch.
What he has to do to get off the bubble: The fact that all this off-field drama is taking place now and not later in this month will end up helping Montgomery. Soon enough the off-field issues will fade, and he'll be able to more fully focus on football and keeping a job in the league. That will help him get off the bubble. Avoiding whatever trouble he got into in Houston will help, too. So will simply playing harder and better in training camp than the defensive ends on the team. Much like Dontay Moch, Montgomery could be used as a sort of roving end/outside linebacker in certain situations for the Bengals' defense. He can serve as a stand-up rush end or add a little extra size and length as a true hand-in-the-dirt end. While Wallace Gilberry, Carlos Dunlap, Margus Hunt and Robert Geathers appear to be factoring into the Bengals' base defensive end rotation, Montgomery still could factor in scenarios that might either force those players onto the line's interior or off the field. Montgomery can get off the bubble, but his climb is steeper than what a few others have.
Odds he makes the team: Low. Remember, "very low" is the absolute baseline we're using in these bubble watches. And "50/50" would be a step above "low." I'd put his exact chances somewhere between the latter two areas of demarcation. He doesn't have the greatest odds to make the 53-man roster right now, but they aren't nonexistent, either. He has a skill set that could prove valuable. It all depends on how well he showcases that skill set, and also how much he's able to keep his off-field situation from becoming an on-field issue.