According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph signed a five-year deal with the Houston Texans Thursday night.
Filed to ESPN: Texans reach agreement with former Bengals CB Johnathan Joseph on a five-year deal. Nnamdi to Jets looking more likely.
Graded as the sixth-best cornerback in the NFL during the Bengals 2009 AFC North Championship season by Pro Football Focus (Leon Hall graded as the league's third-best), Joseph held opposing quarterbacks to a 67.8 passer rating on attempted passes to receivers he covered. Joseph and Hall became one of the top cornerback duos in the league, largely responsible for the defense's fourth overall ranking which allowed Mike Zimmer to employ schemes that attacked the opposition's rushing offense.
During his five-year career in Cincinnati, Joseph posted 14 total interceptions, three touchdowns and two forced fumbles. A great man-cover corner, Joseph is also strong against the run, ranked eighth in tackles amongst all cornerbacks in the AFC. Though injuries are often acknowledged as the baggage in which Joseph carries, he's only missed games in two seasons because of them. He missed a game in 2007 due to a suspension for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy.
With Joseph's departure, only hours after Chad Ochocinco was traded, that leaves a hole in the Bengals starting defense. The most likely candidate to replace Joseph as the starting cornerback is Adam Jones, who passes his physical earlier on Thursday after suffering a neck injury midway through the 2010 season.
However, Joe Reedy writes:
Jones is not expected to be ready for at least six weeks due to a neck injury and might face discipline by the league following an incident outside a Cincinnati bar on July 10.