CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 13: Leon Hall #29 of the Cincinnati Bengals intecepts a pass intended for Heath Miller #83 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during play at Paul Brown Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
When it came to the Cornerback position, the Bengals were going to be in a little bit of trouble after the 2011 season. Not only did they lose Johnathan Joseph to free agency once the lockout was lifted but both Leon Hall and Adam Jones were set to be free agents after the 2011 season. That would have left the Bengals with only a few cornerbacks with practically no experience, plus whoever they drafted, to take over the position.
Luckily, the Bengals were able to extend Leon Hall's contract for four more years. Unfortunately, Hall tore his Achilles during the Bengals Week 10 loss to the Steelers and he was placed on Injured Reserve.
According to ESPN.com's Ross Tucker, Hall should be the happiest guy to ever tear his Achilles.
Had Hall decided that he didn't want to extend his contract with the Bengals, he would have to test the free agency waters after missing the second half of the last season and coming off of a season-ending injury that can be hard to recover from. Instead, he's got a guaranteed contract with a team that seems to be turning itself around.
Talk about a life-changing decision. Hall received a four-year, $39 million extension that included $14 million in guaranteed money, $9 million of which came by way of a signing bonus. Hall could have decided back in September to roll the dice and play this season under the terms of the last year of his rookie deal, thinking that after the season he could get closer to, if not more than, the $23.5 million guaranteed that his former teammate, Johnathan Joseph, received from the Texans.Instead, Hall went the conservative route, and after this injury, he has probably been thanking his lucky stars every hour on the hour that he made that decision. You know how much guaranteed money Hall would get if he had to go into free agency this offseason coming off a torn Achilles? Zero dollars and zero cents. There are very few examples of players at elite movement positions such as cornerback coming back from Achilles injuries and ever being the same player.
Tucker goes on to say that all too often players turn down the guaranteed money to see if the grass is greener on the other side. Players such as DeSean Jackson, Matt Forte and Peyton Hillis have all turned down contracts that they weren't happy about with their current teams and taking a big risk in free agency. They have no clue what is going to happen in the next seven weeks of the season and if they get hurt, nothing is guaranteed to them at all.
Because Hall decided to stick with the Bengals, he likely saved himself from try to convince a team that he's fully healed and taking a significant smaller paycheck because of his injury. Instead, he has a guaranteed spot on the Bengals roster and a guaranteed paycheck deposited to his bank account.
And Hall shouldn't be the only happy one. We should be happy too, because without Hall in 2012, our picture at cornerback would consist of whichever rookie they drafted and guys with little to no experience when it comes to starting at the position.
I, for one, am happy that Hall went the safer route.