Despite the perception of a diminishing career in Dallas, the Cincinnati Bengals signed free agent Terence Newman in 2012 to add a veteran presence surrounded by inexperienced youth. Not only did he breath life into a career that's silhouetting before a setting sun, he was part of a defense that ranked seventh against the pass in 2012. Newman led the Bengals with 14 passes defensed, started 15 games, and generated a respectable 10.0 grade according to Pro Football Focus' rating system. During his first season with Cincinnati, Newman held opposing quarterbacks to a passer rating of 79.3 during throws against players that he covered.
Despite production comparable to Adam Jones and Leon Hall, Newman actually placed fourth on the team with 75 tackles, falling four stops shy of a career-high. Newman also generated a forced fumble while being credited with two recoveries (one forced fumble and one recovery led to a score while the second recovery sealed the win over Pittsburgh). His two interceptions against Peyton Manning nearly gave Cincinnati an upset that faded deep into the fourth quarter.
Newman elected to pass the higher contract offer as a free agent with the Oakland Raiders to stick with Cincinnati on a two-year deal signed earlier this offseason.
WHY HE RANKED HERE
A talented cornerback that's refusing time's insistence to hang up his cleats, Newman brings tremendous depth to a stocked cornerback position that's led by age and experience, mentoring younger players like Dre Kirkpatrick, Brandon Ghee, and Shaun Prater.
WHY HE SHOULDN'T BE
Newman had a great season in 2012 but often is the case of aging players significantly declining, there will be a moment of his skills noticeably diminishing. Plus we're not exactly confident that Newman won't have his playing time decreased by Adam Jones or Dre Kirkpatrick. And despite recording two interceptions against Peyton Manning, Newman also allowed two touchdowns in the same game.
We expect Newman to open the season opposite of Leon Hall as a starting cornerback. His 2012 production was surprising and effective but hardly shut-down. Of the 56 receptions that Newman allowed, receivers were averaging 11.4 yards per reception with over 250 yards after the catch. Despite an impressive opposing quarterback rating on the whole season, he still had six games where he allowed a rating of 100 or better. And three of those games came against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens -- Cincinnati's top rivals.
Despite that, we wouldn't be surprised if Newman matched his production from last year, allowing Mike Zimmer to implement innovative schemes because the defensive coordinator feels comfortable enough with Newman on an island. However, we're not sure if Newman will match his 958 snaps from last year.