After a full week had passed since his original deadline for deciding which team he would sign with, CB Terence Newman finally settled upon returning to the Bengals on a two-year deal late Friday evening. Cue the releasing of doves, the taking to the streets in celebration, and the wild displays of joy not seen since the NASA control room reacted following the rover Curiosity's successful landing on Mars.
The excitement isn't so much from the expectation that Newman is going to be an integral part of the Bengals' defense next year. After all, barring a set-back, Dre Kirkpatrick will hopefully make his full-time debut next season and the team already has sufficient depth due to the previous re-signing of Adam Jones and the presumed rise of both Shaun Prater and Brandon Ghee. No, the excitement has far more to do with the fact that the Bengals finally signed someone, anyone after a long week in which there was no news on the free agency front. Which isn't a criticism against the team for not making enough moves. It just gets boring sometimes and we are an impatient bunch, damn it!
But now the logjam has broken on Newman's re-signing, and the Bengals are finally free to turn their sight ahead to next month's draft. With the cornerback situation now well in hand, the only other hole in the secondary is the starting safety spot opposite Reggie Nelson, and according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, the team will almost certainly fill that hole early in the draft.
The one hole they have to fill is the safety spot manned by free agent Chris Crocker. It's widely believed the Bengals are going to draft a safety to pair opposite
Reggie Nelsonin the first two rounds.
On the one hand, this news is a bit surprising. Safety has never been a highly-valued position during the Marvin Lewis era. Only safety Madieu Williams was selected early in the draft, near the end of the second round, and he hasn't been with the team since 2007. Every other safety drafted by Lewis and Co. were selected in the fourth round or later, including two fifth-rounders in George Iloka and Robert Sands who are still on the squad. On the other hand, the open safety spot is now one of the only remaining glaring holes on the defensive side of the roster, so it makes sense to finally break the embargo on drafting one early for the necessity of improving the unit as a whole.
So for everyone clamoring for a shiny new safety for Mike Zimmer to play around with, keep your eyes peeled come draft day. You may just get your wish, and sooner rather than later.