Bengals News

Bengals still need help at linebacker

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 4: Vontaze Burfict
CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 4: Vontaze Burfict /
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The Cincinnati Bengals signed linebacker Preston Brown from the Bills but still need to draft another linebacker early.

The Cincinnati Bengals made another splash during the free agency period by signing former Buffalo Bills inside linebacker Preston Brown on Friday afternoon. The Cincinnati native chose to sign a one year deal with the Bengals over re-signing with his former team. Brown will bring consistency to the Bengals defense as he has not missed a game since being drafted in the 2014 Draft by the Bills.

In the last three seasons with the Bills, Brown has played in 98% of the defensive snaps each year. He played in 93% of the defensive snaps in 2014 during his rookie year. Alongside being a consistent and reliable piece on the defense, he was a leader and signal caller for the defense as well. Brown wore the radio helmet taking play calls from three different defensive coordinators since his rookie season.

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If all of that isn’t enough for you to like this signing, Brown has also played a very versatile role for the Bills. During his time with the Bills, the defense has played in both the 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. He played both inside and outside linebacker in the 4-3 scheme and inside linebacker in the 3-4. The ability to not only play for three different coordinators, multiple different positions in different schemes from year to year, and he can still improve his numbers every year since 2014 is incredible.

There’s no doubt that Brown is a sure upgrade over the inside linebackers the Bengals have entertained over the last couple years. Inside linebacker Kevin Minter was signed to a one year deal last offseason but injuries kept him from being much of an impact on the field. In 2016 the Bengals signed Karlos Dansby to a one year deal and then moving on from him as well.

Dansby was a solid linebacker for the Bengals in 2016 leading the team in tackles with 114 combined. He was a huge piece that helped cover the hole of linebacker Vontaze Burfict being suspended the first three games of the season. The 35-year-old signed with the former team that drafted him in 2004, the Arizona Cardinals prior to the 2017 season.