Update: Kurt Coleman has signed with the New Orleans Saints on a three-year deal.
I was told the Bengals also offered a three-year deal and had optimistim to get something done but Coleman ultimately chose the Saints. https://t.co/xeV4j8PFbB— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) March 3, 2018
The great thing about the Scouting Combine is that so much more goes on there then just prospects working out for the entire NFL. It is one of the rare instances where the entire NFL is in one place all at once. Savvy agents and veteran players also use this as a great time to find a landing spot by meeting with a number of teams in a short amount of time. That is what Kurt Coleman and the Bengals did Thursday night.
Free agent safety Kurt Coleman, recently cut by the Panthers, met with the Bengals tonight in Indianapolis. There's mutual interest for a deal to get done. https://t.co/idMNofBWgK— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) March 2, 2018
The Bengals are set with George Iloka and Shawn Williams as safety, but they do need to add more depth at the position. Last year Iloka started the year playing through an injury. This caused him to miss a portion of snaps for the first few weeks. Williams also missed five games last year, and he also missed a few drives here and there due to less serious injuries.
This forced the Bengals to play Clayton Fejedlem and Josh Shaw more than they’d like at safety. Shaw struggled last season, and while Fejedelem looked servicable, it is clear the Bengals would prefer to have him focus on special teams where he has been great. He even was voted as a Pro Bowl alternate as a special teamer last season.
Coleman would be a nice backup to have, but his best football seams to be behind him. He was ranked as the 76th overall safety last season by Pro Football Focus, and he is hitting that 30-year-old mark. He was a cap casualty for the Panthers this offseason after struggling in 2017. The two years prior he had 11 interceptions, a forced fumble and two touchdowns. Last year he failed to create a turnover though.
Coleman’s addition could be as much about depth as it is about adding a teaching presence for a unit that is entering its prime. Coleman may be on the decline, but he obviously knows the position. He could be a key part of the Bengals’ new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin’s initiative to create more turnovers. Coleman has 21 interceptions during his eight year career.
This isn’t the kind of outside free agent addition fans are looking for, and it may not have a huge impact on the field. This is still a necessary move to address a position in need of depth. The Bengals don’t need to spend a high draft pick on a guy who won’t play for a couple of years except for when someone is hurt. Coleman likely won’t be fetching a huge contract, which is just what the Bengals are looking for. He is an affordable backup who can be serviceable when needed.