One of the Bengals captains, a utility defensive player, special teams staple and all-around good guy, Vincent Rey hits free agency after his sixth season in Cincinnati. Rey has been a reliable player, participating in all 16 regular season games for the last five seasons in a row. Rey has stepped up with Vontaze Burfict's concussions and knee injury, and led the Bengals linebackers in tackles in 2014 and 2015.
What he offers: Rey has made a name for himself as a special team's captain with the ability to start at any of the three linebacker spots as needed. Over the years, he's made starts in the middle, weak-side, strong-side and nickel LB spots. His skill set suggests he's best on the weak-side as Rey has decent speed and is a good chase-tackler. Versatility, experience and his special teams skills will keep Rey employed for a long time in the NFL.
Concerns: Rey is sort of a Jack of all trades, master of none type. He can play all linebacker positions, but he doesn't stand out at any of them. For a solid athlete, Rey doesn't move well laterally and doesn't always react quickly or aggressively. In coverage, he can be moved easily by a quarterback's eyes and it makes him a target over the middle when you include his stiffness in space. Rey isn't the most physical linebacker and when it comes to attacking downhill or defeating blocks, he depends on his quick reads rather than his strength. Once a linemen gets on him, he's generally out of the play.
With Vontaze Burfict's suspension to start the 2016 season, Cincinnati might be inclined to bring Rey back to start those three games and play his normal role of backing up the other spots. There might also be an opening at one of the nickel linebacker spots and SAM linebacker. So Rey has value for the Bengals. I'd rather see them let Dawson get a chance to replace Burfict or play SLB and draft a nickel linebacker. Either way, linebacker is a big need and the Bengals have a reliable player in Rey hitting free agency.