Cincinnati Bengals: Jones Walks, Iloka Re-Signs
With the legal tampering period starting Monday, teams have been able to reach verbal agreements with free agents. All agreements can become official when free agency starts today, Wednesday, March 9th at 4pm EST.
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Marvin Jones is the first Cincinnati Bengals free agent that has reached an agreement with another team, the Detroit Lions. Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) broke the news that Jones would be packing his bags and heading for Detroit. The deal is reportedly worth the $8 million per year mark, which is a lot more than the Bengals were looking to give Jones.
Last season, Jones was the #2 receiver and will probably step in that same role in Detroit, behind, Golden Tate. Jones had 65 catches for 816 yards and 4 touchdowns. As much as fans hate letting Jones go, it was a necessary move by Cincinnati.
About an hour later, Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) of NFL Network and NFL.com tweeted that the Bengals have officially re-signed Safety George Iloka, and that he would be staying to run the defense. This is great news for both the Bengals and their fans.
Iloka is arguably a top 5 safety in the league, and is entering his prime as he turns 26 at the end of March. With the deal being worth around $6 million per year, which is an outstanding number for the organization, the Bengals got a steal with this signing. Not a lot of top-tier safeties hit the open market, let alone during the prime of their career, so Iloka probably could have gotten quite a bit more if he didn’t re-sign with Cincinnati.
Last season, Iloka played in only 12 regular season games and recorded 47 tackles with 1 interception. He was one of the silent leaders of the defense, along with fellow safety and free agent George Nelson. At 6’4″ 225 lbs, Iloka has all the tools to become the top safety in the league. With guys like Eric Berry, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas around, it won’t be the easiest task, but Iloka is at least a year younger than all three.
With only a few hours left until free agency officially beginning, the anticipation is high with Bengals fans. The team still has plenty of key free agents that will be hitting the open market, including Adam Jones, Reggie Nelson, Vincent Rey, and Mohamed Sanu. What should be the next move for the Cincinnati Bengals?