George Iloka has become a hot commodity.
Less than an hour after the legal tampering period began, Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that four NFL clubs are interested in signing the 25-year-old safety.
Safety George Iloka has gotten serious interest from #Falcons #Giants #Lions & #Vikings & #Bengals - who want him back & door remains open— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) March 7, 2016
With the Bengals also expressing interest in re-signing Iloka, that makes five teams pursuing Iloka within an hour of the start of the legal tampering period. Seeing as how there are still two days until free agency officially begins, it would be safe to assume that a few more teams could also begin expressing interest in Iloka.
Despite showing a strong commitment to prioritize the re-signing of Marvin Jones and Adam Jones, the Bengals have made it clear that Iloka is another priority in free agency for the right price. That other teams will certainly try and overpay for the safety could pose a threat to the Bengals, but Cincinnati knows what it wants. If the Bengals really want to re-sign Iloka, they'll likely get the job done. If they're skeptical of overpaying, however, the Bengals will concede at the price they see being too high.
The Vikings could be the team with the strongest chance of pulling Iloka away from Cincinnati, as former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is now the head coach in Minnesota. In addition, the chance to team up with superstar safety Harrison Smith in the defensive backfield could be enticing to Iloka. If it's money Iloka wants, however, Minnesota likely won't be able to offer enough. The team just recently re-signed safety Andrew Sendejo, and teams like the Giants and Lions have better financial means to snag Iloka away from Cincinnati.
Ultimately, where Iloka signs will bottle down to whether the safety is content in Cincinnati or if he wants to find a new home. The Bengals have been good to Iloka, and they'll send a more than reasonable offer his way when they see fit. But if Iloka wants a change of scenery, whether it be reuniting with a former coach or playing for a team who offers him a ludicrous salary Cincinnati isn't willing to match, the safety could be gone.