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NFL free agency 2018: Bengals hosting Eric Reid for visit; “real chance” he signs

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The Bengals could be on the verge of adding one of the top defensive backs to hit free agency this offseason.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are still interested in bolstering the safety position.

That became evident this offseason when the team offered a contract to free agent Kurt Coleman, who wound up signing with the New Orleans Saints. The Bengals never reportedly showed interest in any other safeties, but now, they may have someone in mind.

According to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport, the Bengals are hosting Eric Reid for a free agent visit. Rapoport also adds there’s a real chance Reid signs during his visit.

In 2017, Reid racked up 67 tackles, four pass deflections and two interceptions in 13 games (12 starts). He recorded 62 tackles, one interception and five pass deflections in 10 games in 2016.

Reid finished this past season ranked 30th among Pro Football Focus’ top 86 safeties. He would quickly become one of Cincinnati’s top defensive backs if he signs here.

While safety doesn’t appear to be a need, it wouldn’t be hard for the Bengals to find an upgrade over Shawn Williams, who has been above average in his first two years as a full-time safety in Cincinnati’s defense.

George Iloka didn’t exactly light the world on fire last year either, but he’s done well enough throughout his career to think his spot is very safe.

I doubt this means Iloka or Williams would get released if Reid signs, but it would definitely put both safeties on notice.

More importantly, this would give the Bengals a much-needed boost in the secondary, not to mention a potential upgrade at one of the two safety spots.

But as Rapoport writes, the Bengals want to use more three-safety looks in their defense, and Reid would be a heck of a third safety to have.