The Bengals had an uncharacteristic offseason where they came out of the gates signing several players from other teams. Fans opinions on those signings may vary greatly, but the fact is in recent history Cincinnati has valued gathering compensatory picks over bringing in free agents.
Cornerback B.W. Webb was one of those outside signings. It made plenty of sense for both sides as Webb has been a journeyman so far in his career, but last season Webb had his best year playing under Giants secondary coach Lou Anarumo. When Anarumo became the defensive coordinator for the Bengals, the connection made too much sense. Can Webb find a home in Cincinnati though?
College: William & Mary
Hometown: Newport News, VA
Experience: Entering his seventh season
Webb signed a three-year contract with the Bengals this offseason worth $10.5 million with $2.5 million guaranteed, according to Spotrac. He is also set to have a $3 million cap hit for 2019.
It was also interesting that the Bengals gave Webb a three-year deal. When the Bengals have usually brought in outside free agents, it has been on one-year prove it deals. Cincinnati gave out several other deals with similar length to free agents this offseason, but they don’t play positions that seems to have plenty of young talent (even before Darqueze Dennard returned).
Webb’s career at William & Mary was highlighted by his redshirt freshman season where he had eight interceptions and two touchdowns. He played the rest of his career as well even though the box score doesn’t pop off the page like that season. Webb was a three time All-CAA first team selection. The only thing holding Webb back was his size.
Running though Webb’s NFL career makes you hope he had one hell of a mileage reward plan. He was originally a fourth-round pick by the Cowboys in 2013, then he headed to Pittsburgh the next season, Tennessee after that, a pit stop in New Orleans, visited the factory of sadness in Cleveland and his final stop before Cincinnati was of course the Giants. Over his entire career so far, Webb has played in a total of 65 games (23 starts) three interceptions, 20 passes defended and a total of 126 tackles.
Webb’s production and overall role will depend on how his competition with Darqueze Dennard goes. Mind you that the Bengals signed Webb before the possibility that Dennard would come back was even a reality. Initially it looked like Webb would be the starting nickel corner, which is the spot he is best suited for.
Dennard returning on a one-year deal looked like it would kill that possibility, but reports of Webb impressing the coaching staff have surfaced, and that really lends to the idea that there could be a competition for that spot. Our own Matt Minich went over some film of Webb in the slot, and explained why this is going to be more of a competition than fans anticipated.
It also helps that Dennard has missed all of training camp thus far as he recovers from offseason knee surgery, which has allowed Webb to get the majority of snaps in the slot thus far.
Even in the scenario where Webb doesn’t take Dennard’s starting spot, he is still extremely valuable to this time as a player who has worked with Anarumo before. He will be able to help talk guys through the system. He also provides veteran depth at the corner position, and we shouldn’t be surprised with him at least being the first guy off the bench.
For Webb, it’s only a matter of where he lands on the Week 1 depth chart. While Dennard has been rehabbing on the Physically Unable to Perform list, Webb has been taking his starting reps early on in training camp.
Webb’s contract also has a decent amount of guaranteed money included, which means cutting him would give the Bengals a dead cap hit (something the franchise does everything to avoid).
Despite the team already having Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson as their starters and Darius Phillips and Davontae Harris as young up incomers, Webb seems to have a nice cozy spot on the Bengals roster for the life of his contract.
Roster odds: 95%