The Giants have signed former Bengals cornerback Leon Hall, according to NFL Network’s Rand Getlin.
The Bengals were still interested in re-signing Hall, who has played in Cincinnati for the entirety of his nine year NFL career to date, but it seems they simply waited too long to pull the trigger.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the deal is one-year and can amount to as much as $2 million with incentives. Hall reportedly chose the Giants over the Bengals.
Per Bengals.com, the Bengals were very close to re-signing Hall six weeks ago, but the deal fell through.
Indications are the Bengals may have an idea on where they stand with Hall heading into Thursday’s 3 p.m. practice. Reports have him in New York visiting the Giants Wednesday after he was so close to re-signing with the Bengals six weeks ago that coaches and players talked about how good it was to have him back.
Then suddenly it didn’t happen.
It’s very possible the Giants simply offered Hall more money than the Bengals were willing to. Or, perhaps they offered him a better opportunity to get on the field more frequently than he would have been able to see with the Bengals. At this point, the reasons behind Hall’s decision are speculation, but, it appears Hall will not finish out his NFL career in Bengals stripes.
The Giants have been huge offseason spenders this year in free agency. They dished out $196.4 million to beef up their defense in just the first week of free agency alone. Per Over the Cap, the Giants still have $18,232,101 in cap space for this season while the Bengals only have $12,764,739 (and that's not taking into account Ryan Hewitt's new raise and contract extension.
The Giants' cornerback roster consists of first round 2016 draft pick Eli Apple, veterans Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and three undrafted rookies. It seems that Hall will play in the slot for the Giants, as he did for the Bengals last year.
As for the Bengals’ cornerback roster, Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick are slated to start on the boundary with Darqueze Dennard finally getting a chance in the slot. Dennard thrived in the role during the few opportunities he received to play significant snaps last year when Hall was hurt. In Dennard’s first game with significant snaps, the game at Buffalo, he secured his first interception. Then, at the Cardinals, he had another great game before going down with a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery. Dennard was able to start training camp healthy last week, but has since sprained his ankle. He will be sidelined for a few weeks, but the hope is that he’ll still be ready to play in Week 1.
The Bengals also saw first round cornerback William Jackson III go down with an injury this week, which could end his rookie season before it begins. He has a torn pectoral, the extent of which is not yet known. At a minimum, he’ll miss three months. At a maximum, his season could be over. Jackson’s injury likely increased the Bengals’ interest in bringing back Hall, but, that won’t be happening.
Hall had a great career in Cincinnati and was one of the Bengals’ best-ever cornerbacks. But, the Bengals should be fine this year embracing the youth on the roster, and moving on without him. We wish Hall the best of luck in New York.