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Leon Hall and Bengals still talking about return

It remains possible that Leon Hall returns to the Queen City this year.

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Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

There is no question that Leon Hall will go down as one of the greatest defensive backs to ever wear Bengals stripes.

The question is if he'll do it for one more season in Cincinnati when the Bengals already have a full cornerback roster. Then again, we're talking about a team that loves having guys who can play safety one week and corner the next, so the possibility of Hall returning in that kind of Swiss Army Knife role certainly seems plausible.

According to's Geoff Hobson, the team has remained in talks with Hall this offseason, and there's potential for a new deal. It's hard to see Hall returning on much more than a veteran-minimum deal, more so because the Bengals have several guys they need every dollar to help get re-signed now or next offseason.

While Hall has been a full-time corner for all of his Bengals career, he has gotten some work at safety the past few seasons, so he'd probably be a backup there if he comes back and not just relegated to corner.

The good news for the Bengals and bad news for Hall is that he's not had much of a market thus far due to offseason back surgery, not to mention a 2015 season where he appeared to be wearing down, now on the wrong side of 30. So far, the Giants, Falcons and Dolphins have expressed interest in Hall, though none of them appear close to signing the 31-year-old defensive back.

Still, Hall is coming off a year in which he was a quality slot man and helped the Bengals finish second in passing scores allowed (18) and fifth in opponent passer rating. He also finished as Pro Football Focus' 33rd-ranked corner, but that's a bit deceiving since opponents tended to go after Dre Kirkpatrick on the boundary more frequently.

Most teams' top two pass-catchers don't line up in the slot where Hall primarily defended, and he had the benefit of covering the second or third option, which quarterbacks had a tough time getting to with Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins breathing down their necks.

Despite all of this, the Bengals would be best served in at least trying to get Hall re-signed, but only if it's a cap friendly deal that's not going to affect the team's ability to re-sign their other key impending free agents. After all, Hall spent 2012 to 2015 on a 4 year, $39,000,000 including a $9.6 million cap hit in 2015. The least he can do after being paid so highly is agree to a team-friendly deal going forward, especially since his options on the open market appear slim to none.