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Dolphins sign Clayton Fejedelem to 3-year deal

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The Bengals lose their special teams ace to the AFC East.

San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Update: Fejedelem’s new deal will pay him $8.55 million over three years with $3 million guaranteed, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The Cincinnati Bengals suffered their first real loss in free agency, as they watched their special teams captain depart for the 305.

Safety Clayton Fejedelem has agreed to a three-year deal with the Miami Dolphins, per his agent Mike McCartney.

Fejedelem has been with the Bengals since 2016 when he was the team’s seventh-round draft pick that year. He’s been a backup at strong safety for the duration of his four-year tenure with Cincinnati, but his value was realized on special teams, where he soon became a leader amongst the unit and eventually its captain.

The Bengals re-signing Fejedelem was a move to be expected, but seeing him get taken off of the market during the opening hours of the legal tampering period is something no one really expected. The financials of Fejedelem’s deal are not yet known, but if he was signed this early, it was likely more than the Bengals were willing to match.

With luck, Fejedelem will be given a chance to start on defense for a new team, something that simply wasn’t in the cards in Cincinnati. But the Bengals do have a sizable hole to fill on special teams now.