CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 24: Reggie Nelson #20 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after a sack against the Arizona Cardinals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Cardinals 23-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The Bengals have a need at safety. That need could be growing if they cannot get a deal done with who is amongst their top priorities to re-sign. According to Jim Wyatt, the Tennessee Titans beat writer for The Tennessean, The Titans may have interest in Nelson if they do not put the franchise tag on Michael Griffin. Wyatt includes in his tweet that Griffin and the Titans are both discussing a long term deal at the moment, but nothing looks imminent.
#Titans don't put the tag on Michael Griffin. No long-term deal in works for Griffin nowBengals safety Reggie Nelson in play if the
There are two ways to make sure that Nelson does not know what it is like to be a Titan. The Bengals could easily sign Nelson to a long term deal with the reported $60 million or so that the Bengals reportedly have in their surplus. If the Bengals and Nelson cannot agree to terms, the Bengals can just do it the convenient way and slap the franchise tag on him. As the teams' franchise player, Nelson would be paid as a top-five safety in the league for one season.
Most will not argue that Nelson is not a top-five safety in the NFL. However, the Bengals do have quite a bit of money available to spend and this likely would not hinder their pursuit of another free agent, say Oakland's Michael Bush. Nelson provides solid experience to a young group of safeties, especially if Chris Crocker is cut or demoted during the off-season. If such is the fate with Crocker, Taylor Mays could be the one taking his place. If the Bengals decide not to tag Nelson, Robert Sands may be the guy to take his place, which would be a part of the complete overhaul of the position group.
It seems unlikely that Marvin Lewis would allow both Mays and Sands to be his opening day safeties, though he does have confidence in them. Do Lewis, Mike Zimmer, and Mike Brown have enough confidence in these younger guys to let Nelson get away? With franchise tags starting to be announced, here is hoping Nelson is the next one to get tagged or re-signed.