The Cincinnati Bengals have signed defensive end Wallace Gilberry to a three-year deal worth $6.75 million, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and ProFootballTalk.com. Gilberry, who was scheduled to enter free agency on Tuesday as an unrestricted free agent, helps solidify a position facing multiple free agents this year. Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer confirmed both reports.
Gilberry, released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in early September, signed with the Bengals three weeks into the 2012 regular season and quickly became a productive player on a top-ten defense. Gilberry finished third on the team with 6.5 quarterback sacks, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries, one returned for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles.
There was no confusion on what Gilberry's role was, rushing the passer on 59.2 percent of his 353 snaps on defense. In the final nine games last year, including the wild card loss to Houston, Gilberry generated either a quarterback sack or pressure against the opposing quarterback. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 21, Gilberry also recovered a Ben Roethlisberger fumble that eventually led to a Bengals touchdown.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Giants in 2008, Gilberry was released during final cuts that year and signed with the Chiefs. He was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the offseason, then released and signed back on September 3, 2012. He was finally released on September 14, when Tampa Bay needed space on the 53-man roster after re-signing Derek Hardman. Cincinnati signed the defensive end to a one-year deal.
Following his first practice with the Bengals, Gilberry was just happy to find a team as quickly as he did.
"I guess it was one of those things where it didn't work out. Cincinnati called and gave me an opportunity and I’m definitely going to take advantage of it," Gilberry said to The Enquirer’s Shannon Russell.