With the addition of strong safety Danieal Manning, the Bengals now have a longtime veteran among what was one of the younger safety units in the NFL.
After Reggie Nelson's seven years of experience, just a combined three seasons of NFL experience can be found between George Iloka and Shawn Williams.
Manning will essentially replace longtime veteran Chris Crocker, who's served as a backup, but also an unquestioned leader on this defense, and the Bengals hope Manning can do the same.
Manning has 112 career NFL games played, with 91 starts, and he also has appeared in nine playoff games (all starts). His postseason action includes starting for the Bears as a rookie in Super Bowl XLI vs. the Colts in 2006. His regular-season totals include 521 tackles, 11 interceptions, nine forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
Manning admitted his connection with new Bengals co-defensive backs coach Vance Joseph was the key to signing with the Bengals:
"That was one of the key connections then once you had time to do research once I got on the plane and also just the experience I had playing this organization some of the guys and going against some of these coaches I knew it was going to be a great fit.
"I am not going to lie, another reason that played a part in me coming here was I seen the role that they had continuing to knock on the playoff door. I had seen this was a team that I would potentially love to play with if I ever had the opportunity to come to free agency. My prayers were answered. I'm just ecstatic and elated to be a part of the organization."
Joseph also commented on Manning and what he brings to the Bengals and his ability to play nickel/slot corner:
"Sure, his first couple years in Chicago he actually played corner. I think the league is going that way. I think you want safeties who can walk over to the slot and play coverage. You don't want to have to always go nickel and dime versus three-wide.
"I think he gives us that. In Houston he covered the slot most of the time when we were in base against three-wide. I've seen him walk down to the slot, he's got great lateral movement, he's got good ball skills, he's been a corner before, I would be comfortable in this system with him dropping down at nickel."
Last year with Houston, he started the first six games but suffered a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 13 vs. St. Louis. He was released to free agency by the Texans on Monday of this week.
As for his contract: It's a 1-year deal with a $1.6 million base salary in 2014, and he can make another $500,000 through playtime incentives. The deal has an injury waiver in the event he has a setback from a broken leg that cost him 10 games last year.