The Cincinnati Bengals continue to remake the secondary and added a big get in the second phase of free agency.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Wednesday that the Bengals agreed on a three-year deal with safety Vonn Bell, per sources informed of the pact.
A second-round pick out of Ohio State by the New Orleans Saints in 2016, Bell is a run-stuffing box safety, who can smash the hole and blitz with aplomb timing. In four seasons, the 25-year-old compiled 384 tackles, eight sacks, 14 passes defended and one interception. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ top run-defending safety.
While he’s best as a box safety, Bell isn’t too shabby covering tight ends from his roving position.
Bell played himself out of New Orleans, hitting the market with his price range distancing what the Saints were expected to match. Sean Payton’s crew responded by signing veteran Malcolm Jenkins, signaling Bell would be headed elsewhere.
Bell heads back to the state of Ohio, joining a completely reworked defense. In addition to Bell, the Bengals signed corners Trae Wayens and Mackensie Alexander in the secondary and added defensive tackle D.J. Reader and linebacker Josh Bynes up front.
Bell should pair with third-year free safety Jessie Bates in the starting crew. Veteran strong safety Shawn Williams should shift to a third-safety role and/or nickel linebacker.
The Bengals set out to upgrade one of the worst defenses in the league last season. On paper, they’ve made improvements on each level thus far this offseason.
New Bengals safety Vonn Bell was one of the most effective blitzing defensive backs in the NFL last season.
Bell generated pressure on 24% of blitzes in 2019, the highest pressure rate in the NFL (min. 30 blitzes). https://t.co/gAzQbtLttX
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