After nine years of playing at a very high level, Leon Hall hits free agency for the first time. At 31-years-old and with two past Achilles injuries, Hall has slowed down and become a role player, but he's still very good in that role. In 2015, Hall had 55 tackles, 2 stuffs, 2 interceptions including 1 pick six and 9 passes defensed. Hall played 14 games while missing some time with a back injury and played mostly in the slot. Since being drafted in 2007 by the Bengals with the 18th overall pick, Hall has accumulated a total of 470 tackles, 111 passes defensed and 26 interceptions during his nine-year career.
Hall has long been an integral member of the Bengals' defense, and he's been paid as such, but should the Bengals re-sign Hall this offseason?
What he offers: Leon Hall is still a very technically sound player with a good football IQ. He's been reduced to a nickel CB, but that role still sees about 60 percent of the total snaps, and he's still one of the best nickel corners in the league. He's physical, presses well and offenses should never throw wide receiver screens in his direction. Hall is still one of the best tackling corners in the NFL today. Hall has also rotated into safety for some packages and has practiced there in training camp. I think he could extend his career a few years as a safety and nickel CB.
Concerns: Concerns with Hall are due to past injuries. It's amazing that he's come back from two Achilles injuries, but they have severely slowed him down. His top speed is almost all but gone and he doesn't have the short area quickness he once had. Hall is at his best in zone coverage and shouldn't be put outside in man coverage. His ball skills have largely been average throughout his career and combined with his lack of speed, it makes Hall a liability on deep passes.
I'm not sure how much interest Hall will receive on the open market, but there's no chance he makes the money he's made during his last contract. If the Bengals bring him back, I expect the deal to be at least half of his 2015 salary of $9 million. If the Bengals lose both of their free agent safeties (Reggie Nelson and George Iloka), that could increase Hall's value in Cincinnati. I think he has a few good years left in him and it'll be interesting to see just how much he wants to stay in Cincinnati.