Former Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph was (reportedly) expected to return to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011 before the Houston Texans swooped in with an 11th-hour offer, signing the cornerback to a five-year deal worth $48.75 million and $23.5 million guaranteed. Cincinnati, who reportedly valued the technician in Leon Hall, decided not to sit idle, signing Hall 35 days later to a four-year deal worth $42.375 million.
Without question Joseph had the greater season -- thanks, Houston Texans pass rush -- while Hall suffered a season-ending Achilles tear against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 13, ending a streak of 74 consecutive games played. Now that's a sense of irony; Joseph was supposed to be the oft-injured one.
Hall, who is scheduled to be ready for training camp this year, posted one of the league's best YAC-allowed averages. According to Football Outsiders, Hall allowed only a 2.5 YAC-allowed average, meaning that he's successfully dropping receivers soon after the player catches the football -- which makes sense for one of the team's better tacklers in the secondary. Additionally Hall only allowed two touchdowns (both against Cleveland during the regular season opener) and an opposing quarterback rating of 84.8.
Obviously if you suffer an Achilles injury that ends your season, you can chalk that up to having a bad year. However Hall ranked 55th in the NFL by allowing 8.2 yards/pass against receivers he covered and a 51 percent success rate (ranked 49th) so we wouldn't call it one of his better seasons.
Yet he's still the best cornerback this team has and with a full recovery, his return only increases their chances in becoming a top-ten defense in 2012.