Despite being deep at defensive tackle for 2016, the Cincinnati Bengals still opted to re-sign Brandon Thompson to a one-year deal.
The lineman, entering his fifth NFL season, hit free agency for the first time in his career this offseason, but interest in him around the league was scarce due to his torn ACL suffered this past season. Per Spotrac, Thompson's new contract is valued at $840,000 overall, including a $50,000 signing bonus, which is all that's guaranteed to him.
Thompson could also earn a workout bonus of $30,000. Thompson has a cap hit of $680,000 while his dead money value is $50,000, but I doubt the Bengals cut him at any point. The plan will probably be to keep him on PUP to open the year, try to work him back to where he's 100% when he has to come off the list, but if there's no room for him at that point, the Bengals would likely just put him on I.R. and continue to pay him through the season.
Originally drafted in the third round out of Clemson in the 2012 NFL Draft, Thompson slowly developed into a quality lineman for a defense that annually ranks among the NFL's best.
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 Geno Atkins tore his ACL in 2013. It's often forgotten that Atkins was playing at an All-Pro level that season, but once he went down, Thompson more than held his own as a starter and helped offset the loss of Atkins.
But since that breakout 2013 campaign, injuries have hindered Thompson and ultimately kept him from getting a bigger contract this offseason. 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.
This past season, Thompson split time with Pat Sims and struggled just to be active on gamedays. Thompson appeared in just nine games and played 184 snaps, but did average 20 snaps per game over the final three weeks of the regular season.
And as ESPN's Coley Harvey writes, Thompson was really good against the run in 2015.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, in games when he wasn't on the field that year, the Bengals allowed 4.6 yards per rush. In games that season when Thompson was on the field, the Bengals allowed just 3.1 yards per carry.
But then Thompson suffered a torn ACL in a Week 17 win over the Baltimore Ravens. That undoubtedly cost him big time as he hit free agency.
Now, Thompson has to battle Sims and younger tackles Marcus Hardison and DeShawn Williams for playing time this year. There's also the possibility of the Bengals adding another young tackle in the draft.
The good news for Thompson is he still has a job in the NFL and he'll continue to be given opportunities to earn playing time once he recovers from his ACL tear.