The Bengals have once again proven nothing is official until pen is put to paper.
For pretty much the entire offseason, George Iloka was viewed as a goner who had little-to-no hope of re-signing with Cincinnati. It wasn't that the Bengals didn't want him as much as the market suggested Iloka was going to get a lot of big-money offers Cincinnati would be unable to match with so many other key free agents needing to be retained.
But once word broke that Marvin Jones was leaving, that left the Bengals with a lot of money to spend, and that likely helped lead to them upping their offer for Iloka before he ultimately re-signed with them. As tough as it is to lose Jones, there's really no question who the better player is.
Why it could be a great idea
Iloka has become one of the NFL's better safeties over the past two seasons while finishing 2015 as Pro Football Focus' 15th-best safety. His new deal is reportedly for five years and $30 million, a very good deal for both the Bengals and Iloka. $6 million per year makes Iloka one of the highest-paid safeties, but doesn't break the bank for the Bengals as they look to re-sign other key free agents.
With Iloka back in the fold, the Bengals will keep the majority of their defense intact even if fellow safety Reggie Nelson leaves. Shawn Williams played well enough last year that the combination of he and Iloka shouldn't be much, if any downgrade from the Iloka/Nelson duo.
Why it could be a terrible idea
As mentioned earlier, the Bengals had to lose out on Marvin Jones to re-sign Iloka. Would paying Jones $8 million per year been a better option for the Bengals than paying Iloka $6 million per year? While Iloka may appear to be the better player, Jones was a big part of the offense with no clear replacement for him, whereas Williams could have replaced Iloka.
There's also the possibility of Nelson leaving now that Iloka is re-signed. It's hard to see the Bengals re-signing them both with Nelson also likely to command a big contract, especially after he was one of the best safeties in football last season.
And will Iloka's deal affect the Bengals' ability to re-sign Adam Jones? Between Adam Jones and Nelson, those two were a huge reason why the Bengals defense was so good in 2015.