The Cincinnati Bengals are on a nice roll right now through the first two days of NFL free agency.
The latest player to get re-signed is linebacker Vinny Rey, according to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:
The #Bengals are re-signing LB Vincent Rey, source said— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 10, 2016
According to Rapoport, the deal spans 3 years and is worth $11.5 million.
Rey, 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.
Rey was called upon to play more defensive snaps in 2013 thanks to injuries to 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 for the second straight year. 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.
Rey is a great example of how hard work and perseverance can pay off, which is what he's getting this offseason. Thanks to his ascension to starting linebacker in recent years, he will now likely receive a contract that pays him as such.
Through his first six years in the league, Rey had made an average of about $860,000 per season, though he did earn $2.5 million this past season. That's still not what he deserves after he's become a frequent starter since 2014 (21 starts over that span vs 4 starts in previous 4 seasons).
With Vontaze Burfict suspended for the first three games of 2016 while Lamur also left in free agency, Rey's value to the Bengals is at an all-time high, so it's only fair they reward him with a contract bigger than anything he's had previously.
Welcome back, Vinny!