A reunion between the Bengals and Leon Hall now looks likelier than ever to happen.
At least, assuming the diagnosis of a torn pectoral muscle for William Jackson III holds up. With the expectation he'll now miss most, if not all of 2016, the Bengals will almost certainly sign another corner in the near future.
Hall would be the most obvious addition, and Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is making that no secret. Following Tuesday's practice, Lewis acknowledged to the media that Hall has the chance to re-join the Bengals and that the two sides have been in touch. He also said the team is in contact with other players, though it’s probably safe to say the Bengals are better off sticking with what they know, not to mention someone who already knows their defense.
"We've been in contact with players all the time," Lewis said. "We'll decide on what the best options are based on the projections on where Will is."
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, all while dealing with back issues he later had surgery to correct.
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.
With projected slot corner and injury-prone starter Darqueze Dennard already banged up, re-signing Hall just makes too much sense for the Bengals to not do it.
Problem is, Hall's agent knows this, and will undoubtedly use it as leverage on the Bengals to try and get his client more money.
But the Bengals will, more than likely, stick to whatever offer they have to Hall and tell him to take it or leave it. After all, the 31-year-old Hall (who turns 32 in December) has seen his play decline in recent years, mainly due to the after effects of two torn Achilles tendons. He's also coming off offseason back surgery, which has led to him not signing with a team as he rehabs.
It may very well come down to if Hall tells his agent to take the deal and re-join the Bengals, or wait for another team to sign him. This may be the point where Hall has to decide if money or loyalty is more important to him in terms of continuing his Bengals career.