Cincinnati Bengals Solidify Message in Vonn Bell Signing
The Cincinnati Bengals continue their free agency overhaul, signing safety Vonn Bell to a three year deal.
The Cincinnati Bengals dipped their toes into the free agent waters for the first time this off-season and now seem to have plunged into the deep end a week in to the open market transactions. The front office continued their spending spree on Wednesday, bringing in safety Vonn Bell, according to Ian Rapoport.
Bell began his career playing for the New Orleans Saints, where he stood out in a big way. The former 5-star recruit racked up 347 tackles, 8 sacks, and 7 forced fumbles in the opening 4 years of his NFL tenure.
Now, he exits the bayou to suit up in stripes. His addition to the secondary continues the youth movement and commitment to fixing the run stopping woes from a season ago. At just 25-years-old and with an 89.6 run defense grade from Pro Football Focus last year, he’s primed to play a major role for the Bengals.
The Bengals starters in the secondary are now all expected to be younger than 27, with an average age of just 25.6 years. This sets up the defense to have one of the youngest, fastest, and most talented defensive backfields in the entire league, which will be especially important to compete against the air raiding offensive juggernauts.
As far as things go for the personnel already on the team, Bell’s presence will most likely put Shawn Williams into a hybrid linebacker role, which he had already grown accustom to in his first year under defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo. For fans concerned about the linebacker unit, Germaine Pratt, Williams, the newly signed Josh Bynes, and draft picks should be enough to get the group up to par, something that hasn’t been seen in Cincinnati for quite some time.
Perhaps most importantly, Bell’s addition means Duke Tobin and company have the ability to solely draft for talent, rather than need. This will be especially important for their second round pick, where premiere talent at the wide receiver position is expected to remain.
These Bengal’s aren’t the same old franchise that fans have grown to know. They’ve now entered the modern world of free agency, and have significantly improved the team because of it. Now, the focus can turn to getting their next franchise quarterback some protection and weapons to ease his transition into the big leagues.
It’s clear the team wanted to send a message to their fans, the media, and the rest of the league after an embarrassing 2-14 record. With the signing of Vonn Bell, they have succeeded in doing so.