The Cincinnati Bengals wasted no time this past Thursday signing former Houston Texans Safety Danieal Manning to a one year deal. Manning, an 8th year pro, was only out of a job for three days before the Bengals nabbed him for a one year deal. Manning brings post season experience and was considered the best safety on the market at the time of his release. With a one year deal, what do the Bengals have to lose?
Safety is a position the Bengals did not address all that well in the 2013 NFL draft, selecting Shawn Williams from the University of Georgia in the fourth round. Williams was a four year player for the Bulldogs, across from Baccari Rambo, who was also drafted. By the time the season started, however, the Bengals had to reach out to journeyman safety Chris Crocker, who did provide support at this position, but is certainly not a long term answer.
The Bengals are now counting on the second year safety, Williams, to learn the position, and accompany George Iloka and Reggie Nelson at the position. If his development is poor, or he is not making the plays that are needed, the Bengals will have no choice but to draft another safety. The signing of Manning points to this lack of confidence in Williams, and brings to the forefront the need for a top safety to complement an aging secondary.
Does signing Danieal Manning help the Bengals? It most certainly does. Manning is exactly what the Bengals want. He is on the downswing of his career, agreed to a one year deal, and someone they can work in, but not be the primary guy. Manning will continue to work with Vance Joseph, former Texans defensive back coach, now defensive back coach for the Bengals. This combination might help Cincinnati for this year, and unless this secondary is plagued with injuries, ensures that they are not bringing back Crocker. The Bengals should draft a safety, if not this year, then definitely next year, especially if they are the best player available in either draft.