For whatever reason, the Cincinnati Bengals are soaking up San Francisco 49er free agents. Not that it's a conspiracy to take it to the 49ers, who have beaten Cincinnati in each of their Super Bowl games. But in truth, we're addressing needs on the defense, starting with Cincinnati's reaction to sign Nate Clements soon after the Bengals lost free agent Johnathan Joseph to the Houston Texans.
According to Pro Football Talk, the Cincinnati Bengals have (shockingly) agreed to terms with outside linebacker Manny Lawson. The contract, per PFT, is a one-year deal worth $3 million. Lawson, the 22nd overall pick during the 2006 NFL Draft, posted nine quarterback sacks in the past two seasons, starting every game for the San Francisco 49ers as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense. Over the course of the past three seasons, Lawson graded favorably against the run, pass rush and above average in pass coverage.
With linebackers like Dan Skuta, Dontay Moch and even Vincent Rey considered to be the team's strong-side starting linebacker, Lawson basically slams shut those discussions. And you can already figure that the team's early projected starting lineup on defense to be Michael Johnson, Robert Geathers, Tank Johnson, Domata Peko, Rey Maualuga, Thomas Howard, Lawson, Leon Hall, Nate Clements, Chris Crocker and Reggie Nelson.
Have to give the Bengals credit for signing guys that will help this defense, rather than putting caution to the wind with what they had.