After suffering a torn Achilles tendon for the second time in two years this past season, Leon Hall’s future with the Cincinnati Bengals could be in question after the 2014 season. If he cannot bounce-back from this latest setback, the Bengals will be put in a tough spot next offseason as to whether they want to keep the All-Pro cornerback.
Much like the last time he went through an Achilles injury, Hall is also targeting a complete return by training camp, according to ESPN’ Coley Harvey:
Hall expects to be at full health in time for the start of training camp. Even if he isn’t 100 percent by the start of August, he should be completely back in time for the season opener. With Hall in the mix, look for him to join Newman and Jones in the starting rotation.
In that same article, Harvey speculates that the Bengals may look to add two cornerbacks in the 2014 NFL draft to help prepare for the upcoming departures/retirements of Terence Newman and Adam Jones:
This year, don’t be surprised if they land two cornerbacks who can be groomed in the coming season or two to eventually take over for the likes of Newman, Hall and Jones. A cornerback who has experience playing in the slot would be a bonus.
As of now, Jones is signed for two more years and Newman for one. It’s hard to see either of them playing for the Bengals beyond the 2015 season, and if Hall continues to be prone and/or doesn’t get back to himself this upcoming year, the team may be forced to cut him and free themselves of his massive contract.
His cap hit will be $8.7 million next year with $3.6 mil. of dead money on his contract, which means there’s virtually no chance he Bengals cut him this offseason.
However, his cap-hit rises to $9.6 mil. in 2015, but there would be just $1.8 mil. in dead money. That means the Bengals could save $7.8 mil. by cutting him next offseason, and in the same offseason that A.J. Green and Andy Dalton are slated to become free agents, Hall is going to need to play well this year to warrant the team keeping him in ’15.