Cincinnati Bengals: What will Ricardo Allen’s role be?
By Riley Thomas
Cincinnati Bengals safety Ricardo Allen was a long-time starter for the Atlanta Falcons. After being drafted in the fifth round, Allen ended up starting 76 games for Atlanta across six seasons. With 77 games across his career, Allen started in every game except one for the Falcons.
After coming off perhaps his two worst seasons in his career, the Falcons cut Allen. The Bengals acquired the veteran safety, signing him to a one-year deal worth roughly $1.4 million.
For the Bengals, Allen could be a great value for only $1.4 million. To begin his career, Allen had four straight seasons with a PFF grade above 68.0. This is above average, especially his two seasons with grades of 77.5 and 75.8.
Allen had a rough 2019 season, but still had 85 tackles (his career-high is 90 tackles). The Bengals got Allen for a cheap price and his signing will be a huge win if he’s close to what he has been in the majority of his career.
Ricardo Allen’s role on the Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals’ strongest position group could be safeties. Jessie Bates III is one of the best safeties in the NFL right now, while Vonn Bell is a solid starter.
Clearly, Allen will not start for Cincinnati, so what will Allen’s exact role be?
There is no clear answer to this question. We will not know Allen’s definite role until the regular season kicks off. This offseason, not many reports have surfaced citing Allen as a game-changer.
He is still firmly in the position to backup Bell as of now. Allen’s entire signing was about providing depth in the secondary.
Being behind Bell in the depth chart could signify what Allen’s role will be. Bell has been known as a safety who excels in providing run support. Bell’s pass coverage has been spotty across his career, although he seems to be improving. Bell’s primary role is to come downhill and punish ball carriers.
Allen’s role could be similar to Bell’s. Across his career, Allen has mostly been a reliable tackler. Allen at his best is a solid safety who is consistent as both a tackler and in coverage. He’s a little undersized and is not the most athletic safety, but Allen can still be a very good backup.
Once the season starts, Allen’s role will become clear. If he is at his best, the safety room for Cincinnati will get significantly better.