Bengals place Taylor Mays on injured reserve

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Mays is out for the season for the Bengals, leaving the team scrambling for a new nickel linebacker.

Taylor Mays has been placed on injured reserve for a dislocated shoulder he suffered during the Cincinnati Bengals' win over the New York Jets on Sunday, the team announced Wednesday. Mays suffered the injury during the second quarter on an attempted tackle. His season is now over after 21 tackles and two passes defended in eight game appearances.

It appears that the Bengals will use the extra spot on the 53-man roster to add an important piece to the wide receiver corps, according to Bengals blog Cincy Jungle:

Cincinnati didn't announce a corresponding move, which means that their 53-man roster is officially down to 52. This would appear to set the stage for Andrew Hawkins, who is now eligible to return the team after spending the first eight weeks on the team's Injured Reserve list with a designation to return.

Mays played a hybrid safety/linebacker role for the Bengals that will be difficult to replace with the team's current personnel. The Bengals also used Sean Porter and Emmanuel Lamur in a similar position, and both players were also lost for the season with injuries. Current backup safeties Shawn Williams and Chris Crocker could see more playing time close to the line of scrimmage in nickel formations going forward.

The injury comes at an inopportune time for Mays, who is playing out the final year of his four-year rookie contract. He was on pace for a career season before the injury. Coming of a serious injury, Mays' market value could take a significant hit when 2014 free agency begins.

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