The Cincinnati Bengals are looking likely to keep their young starting safety on the roster in 2016.
Albert Breer of NFL Network, and others are reporting a deal between the Bengals and safety George Iloka is nearly complete.
The Bengals are closing on a five-year deal worth about $30 million with S George Iloka, per source.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 9, 2016
S George Iloka gets $30m over 5 years from Cincy with $18m in the first three years— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 9, 2016
George Iloka's deal with #Bengals is done: 5 years, $30M. That $6M average is 5th for strong safeties. $18M in first 3 years ranks 2nd.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 9, 2016
That's a very friendly deal for the Bengals based on that kind of projections Iloka was getting for his next contract. It's also great news for the organization, especially in light of the news that Marvin Jones will be leaving the team to join the Lions.
According to Coley Harvey, after the Bengals' playoff loss in January, Iloka was concerned that if he signed elsewhere it would mean he had to sign with a non-playoff team. Clearly, being with a team that has had winning seasons for five straight years was important to him.
The Bengals drafted Iloka in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of Boise State. He had an impressive Combine showing and was thought to be a great value pick, which he has certainly proven to be. Iloka has been one of the Bengals' most successful defensive draft picks in recent years.
In 2015, Iloka battled a few injuries which brought down his production. Iloka started the year off with an undisclosed injury during OTAs in June. He did recover for training came and the preseason, but an ankle injury in Week 1 against the Raiders caused him to leave the game. The injury then lingered into Week 3 when he removed himself from the Bengals game in Baltimore and in Week 4 he missed the Chiefs game while recovering.
In Week 14 against the Steelers, Iloka suffered a groin injury which caused him to miss the Week 15 and 16 matchups against the 49ers and Broncos. That Week 14 matchup was a nightmare for the Bengals and the same game that saw Tyler Eifert leave early with a concussion and Andy Dalton go down with a thumb injury. While the Bengals won the game in San Francisco without Iloka, they definitely could have used his help in Denver in a game that went to overtime and ended with a devastating fumble and Bengals loss.
In 2015, Iloka played in 12 games, had 35 solo tackles, 12 assisted tackles, 4 passes defensed, and 1 interception. Over the course of his four year career with the Bengals, he's had 189 total tackles, 20 passes defensed, 5 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. 2015 was a down year for Iloka, but his 2014 numbers (74 tackles, 3 interceptions, 10 passes defensed) better indicate what the young and talented safety is capable of.
At 25 years old, and turning 26 in May, Iloka's prime years are ahead of him and luckily, it will be the Bengals who he spends at least the next five years with.