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Bengals will push hard to re-sign Vincent Rey, per report

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As important to the defense and special teams as Vinny Rey has been, we should expect the Bengals to re-sign Rey, as a new report suggests.

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The Cincinnati Bengals prefer to re-sign their own players opposed to signing outside free agents, and Vincent Rey has been a prominent member of the team for much of the three seasons.

That's why the team is expected to make a strong push to bring Rey back this offseason. Though the veteran linebacker is set to hit free agency, Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reports the Bengals will make a strong push to re-sign the special teams ace.

Valued for his productivity, instincts, versatility and character, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey has built a strong reputation in NFL circles.

Now that Rey, 28, is a pending unrestricted free agent, the Bengals are expected to make a major push to retain the team captain with a new deal. Nothing is imminent, though.

The structure for a potential Rey deal with the Bengals could closely mirror the three-year, $15 million contract for linebacker Rey Maualuga that included $4.5 million guaranteed.

Vinny, who turns 29 in September when his seventh NFL season begins, has been with the Bengals since signing as an undrafted free agent out of Duke following the 2010 NFL Draft. After beginning his career on the practice squad, Rey made it onto the 53-man roster late in the 2010 season before becoming the special teams captain, a role he's held for much of his career in stripes.

That is, until Rey was called upon to play more defensive snaps in 2013 thanks to injuries Emmanuel Lamur and Rey Maualuga. Rey would end up playing both inside and outside backer and has continued playing both spots since then as a serviceable backup.

Over the past two seasons, Rey has appeared in 32 games (21 starts) and made 219 tackles and 10 pass deflections. He started eight games this past season while making 98 tackles in 16 games and was the Bengals' leading tackler on the season. He doesn't offer much as a pass-rusher, but did have four sacks in the 2013 season, three coming against Baltimore in one game.

If the Bengals are unable to re-sign Rey before free agency opens, they may have a tough time fending off others to retain him. Former Bengals defensive coordinator and now Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer would likely love to have Rey, and the same can likely be said of former Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph and linebacker coach Matt Burke. Joseph is now Miami's defensive coordinator while Burke is their linebacker coach.

We probably should watch out for Jay Gruden in Washington and Hue Jackson in Cleveland as well. I do think the Bengals will re-sign Rey, and the only question is if it happens before or after free agency begins.

If Rey is retained, he'll likely be the Bengals' starting outside linebacker in Weeks 1-3 of the 2016 season while Vontaze Burfict is serving his 3-game suspension.