Bengals continue to bolster secondary by bringing back familiar face in free agency

Nov 19, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Carolina Panthers safety Vonn Bell (24) before the
Nov 19, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers safety Vonn Bell (24) before the / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati continues to be active in free agency. With their latest move, the Bengals are bringing back a familiar face to improve the secondary, as the team has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with veteran safety Vonn Bell.

Bell, 29, played for the Bengals from 2020 to 2022, and he was a key piece of the team's defense when they went to consecutive AFC Championships in 2021 and 2022. Bell started 48 games for the Bengals during his three seasons in Cincinnati and served as a captain. He recorded 288 tackles and five interceptions during his time with the team.

Last offseason, Bell inked a three-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. He started in 13 games for the Panthers last season and he recorded 69 total tackles and an interception. However, he was recently released by Carolina, opening up a path for him to return to Cincinnati.

Bengals bolstering secondary

Bringing back Bell is the second major move that the Bengals have made to bolster the secondary so far this offseason. The team also added safety Geno Stone from the Baltimore Ravens on a two-year deal. Stone led the AFC in interceptions last season, and he's still just 24 years old.

ESPN NFL insider Matt Miller gave the Stone signing an "A+" grade and called it the "steal of the free agent class" so far. A proven turnover-forcer, Bell was a difference-maker in Baltimore's secondary last season, and there's little reason to believe that he can't have a similar impact with the Bengals.

It's clear that the Bengals viewed the secondary, and specifically the safety spot, as an area of weakness heading into this offseason, and the front office has been very active in addressing the issue. Stone and Bell should make Cincinnati's secondary much more formidable next season.