3 veteran defensive backs the Bengals should target in free agency

The expected departure of veteran cornerback Chidobe Awuzie leaves a need to be filled for the Bengals.
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With the expected departure of veteran cornerback Chidobe Awuzie this offseason (per the Athletic, $), the Bengals boast a young secondary core, led by Cam Taylor-Britt who will be going into his third year in the league. Besides him, you have DJ Turner II and Jordan Battle-- two rookies whose roles increased until they became borderline starters in the ladder half of the season-- and Daxton Hill from the same draft class as Taylor-Britt.

Even the depth is laced with young players, the notable examples being rookie DJ Ivey and 2022 draft class member Tycen Anderson. The oldest in the secondary locker room is nickelback Mike Hilton at 29 years old, who is heading into the last year of his contract.

With so much young talent and unrealized potential occupying the Bengals' secondary, the front office should be looking to poach one of the many veteran corners and safeties in this free agency class. Here are a few candidates that Cincinnati should try to bring to Paycor come March, when the free agency period officially begins.

Jordan Whitehead

With how disappointing Nick Scott's play has been after being signed to help fill the hole left by the departure Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates, and Dax Hill showing flashes but ultimately still struggling overall to adapt his game to the NFL, it wouldn't hurt for the Bengals to go out and try to find a solid veteran safety, and Jordan Whitehead is a perfect candidate.

Whitehead is coming off arguably his best season, setting a lot of career-best marks. Four interceptions, 97 tackles, and only 21 completions and 280 yards allowed in coverage, with a personal second-best 78.8 passer rating allowed when targeted. He also had nine passes defended-- the most since his second year in the league in 2019-- and finished with a decent 68.1 PFF grade.

That's not to say there aren't some concerns to be had with his game, as he does have a high missed tackle percentage (14.2%) and allowed seven touchdowns in coverage in 2023. However, he would still be a solid addition to the safety room, and, with a contract projected to be around $8 million per year according to Josh Quiepo and Kyle DeDiminicantanio at A to Z Sports, is an affordable option to help buff up the secondary.