The Bengals managed to lure Preston Brown back home to Cincinnati from the Bills in free agency.
The only down side seems to be it is on a one-year deal. Interestingly, the Eagles signed wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to a one-year deal last offseason as he was hoping to prove himself and eventually get a longer contract when the one-year ran out.
Last season the Eagles gave Jeffery, the top free agent wide receiver, a huge payday in order to get him to join their team. He actually signed a one-year, $14 million deal in the offseason, but after playing well in the early part of the season, the Eagles signed him to four-year extension in December worth $52 million.
The 2017 season was effectively an audition for both sides. The Eagles had to prove they were turning into a competitive team, and the team wanted to see if Jeffery could be the top receiver their second year quarterback needed.
Jeffery responded with 57 catches, 789 yards and nine touchdowns on the year. More importantly, he demanded a ton of attention from defenses, and it really helped open up the running game and other receivers. The Eagles finished the year as the best team in the not only the NFC, but the NFL as the team defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
The Bengals may be hoping they can do the same with Brown. He was in a three-way tie for the linebacker position as the top tackler in the NFL last season with 144 total tackles. That, after a 139 tackle season in 2016. He also had multiple options for teams interested in his services in 2018, but he opted to sign with the Bengals.
This made for a dream situation for the Bengals, who were able to offer Brown a chance to audition for a long-term deal next season while giving him a one-year deal for 2018. It also gives the Bengals a chance to prove to Brown that he should take that deal from the Bengals, if it comes.
Cincinnati has struggled for the past two seasons. An 0-3 hole to start the year kept them from having a chance at making the playoffs last season. They also brought back Marvin Lewis, despite failed success during the playoffs throughout his 15-going-on-16-year career in Cincinnati.
The team has been making a few moves lately by trading for Brown’s former and now again teammate, Cordy Glenn to fill the void at left tackle. Brown also helps fill a void at linebacker that really has hurt the team defensively over the past few seasons.
If all goes well, Brown could help solidify the middle of the Bengals’ defense. That could also lead to the Bengals returning to their competitive status in the NFL. If that happens, re-signing Brown to a long-term deal could become a priority. However, if Brown struggles, the one-year deal will likely remain just a one-year deal and the Bengals can move on as they’ve done so often with free agent linebacker additions.