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George Iloka "would love to play for" Mike Zimmer or Hue Jackson

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The Bengals safety could find a new home with one of his former coaches if he doesn't get re-signed in Cincinnati.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

George Iloka is in high demand.

After Eric Berry signed the franchise tag in Kansas City, Iloka's value in free agency was boosted and teams will begin calling his agent on Monday, when the NFL's legal tampering period begins. That's if the Bengals can't negotiate a long-term extension with the prized member of their secondary before then.

In an interview with SiriusXM NFL, Iloka praised two of his former coaches, saying he "had a great relationship with Mike Zimmer and Hue Jackson" and claiming "those are two guys I would love to play for."

There could potentially be mutual interest between Iloka and Zimmer, as the Vikings desperately need a safety to pair alongside Harrison Smith.

"If Harrison Smith was paired with a guy that had some other qualities, we could allow Harrison to be more of an impactful player," Zimmer said during his Combine press conference when asked whether the strong safety position needs to be addressed this offseason in his Combine presser. When asked whether the guy he described was on the roster, Zimmer responded by saying, "I don't know."

It would be no surprise if Iloka is also among the free agents Jackson looks to bring to Cleveland.

Fortunately for Cincinnati, the safety hasn't ruled out a return with his current employer.

"I would be open to returning to Cincinnati and finishing what we started, getting a Super Bowl ring," Iloka said in his interview with SiriusXM.

Iloka is bound to have suitors all around the NFL, making the decision of which team to play for even more difficult for the safety. "Free agency is an anxious time," he said. "I know I have some possible suitors but the the decision is up to me."

Hopefully, if the decision is up to him, Iloka will be back in Cincinnati. Bengals management has likely made up its mind on him. The team will have a very specific price range it will be comfortable offering Iloka, and the team may be comfortable overpaying, if it means getting Iloka back long-term. But if a team like Cleveland, Oakland or Jacksonville shells out a boatload of cash the Bengals aren't willing to match, Iloka could leave. After all, the Bengals chose to pass on using the franchise tag.

What makes this process difficult to interpret is the report indicating the Bengals will prioritize Marvin Jones and Adam Jones, while they've said nothing noteworthy of George Iloka. Though, the Bengals are generally quiet about their free agency -- and other -- plans. Iloka has made it clear, with SiriusXM and on Twitter, that he is more than open to a return, but time and money will tell whether he remains in the Queen City.

If it comes down to a bidding war with Minnesota, the Bengals will likely come out on top. The Vikings have three starters hitting free agency and more than $14 million less in cap space than Cincinnati. That safety-needing teams like the Jaguars, Raiders, Giants and Browns are loaded with cap space, however, leaves plenty of room for concern, especially if Iloka truly would love to play for Jackson.

Hopefully the Bengals can get a deal done, as Iloka is an incredibly talented player who could be a difference maker in Cincinnati for years to come.