The Cincinnati Bengals continue to re-sign their current crop of free agents as defensive tackle Brandon Thompson is now back under contract.
Thompson's agency broke the news on Twitter:
This means the Bengals have re-signed both of their backup defensive tackles from last season after Pat Sims inked a two-year deal earlier this offseason. This is a bit of a surprise since Sims signed a deal that would make it rather cumbersome to cut him this season, not to mention, there are some younger talented tackles on the roster in DeShawn Williams and Marcus Hardison.
But hey, in the run-heavy AFC North, you can never have too many interior lineman, and Thompson has been a great backup during his four-year career in the Queen City. That took an unfortunate turn this past season when he tore his ACL in Week 17 and will now likely be on the mend for training camp and possibly all of the preseason.
That makes Thompson a strong candidate to open the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list and not count against the 53-man roster for at least the first six weeks of the 2016 season. In the event that another defensive tackle gets injured in that timeframe, it would free up a spot for Thompson to take over without having to cut someone in order to make room.
Since 2013, Thompson has appeared in 36 games, including seven starts during the 2013 season in which Geno Atkins went down with a season-ending ACL tear. Thompson finished that season with 1.5 sacks, 23 tackles and 1 pass defense. He showed he could be a decent starting tackle in this league, and someone that may have gotten that chance this offseason had he hit free agency healthy.
Originally drafted in the third round out of Clemson in the 2012 NFL Draft, Thompson was one of the less-heralded picks of that draft, especially since he was the second defensive lineman picked after the Bengals took Penn State star Devon Still in Round 2.
While Still had a the better college resume, there was no doubt over the course of the next four years that Thompson was the superior player. After playing in just three games as a rookie, Thompson played in 27 games over the next two years with seven starts, all of which came after Atkins tore his ACL in 2013.
However, injuries have since plagued Thompson and helped keep him from reaching his full potential. A knee injury sidelined him from Week 3-7 in 2014, and he didn't play much after that as Atkins slowly came back into his own following his 2013 ACL tear.
In 2015, Thompson was splitting time with Sims and struggled just to be active on game days. Thompson appeared in just nine games and played 184 snaps. Then he suffered a torn ACL during a win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17, and that undoubtedly cost him big time as he hit free agency for the first time.
While Thompson wasn't going to get a big deal, he would have likely got something that paid him $1-3 million on an annual basis. Instead, he's probably getting a minimal deal with the Bengals as he's no lock to even play next season, let alone make the team's final roster depending on if he takes part in training camp.
Regardless, it is great to see Thompson under contract with an NFL team, and that team just happens to be the Bengals.