Finally, the Cincinnati Bengals have found a new linebacker, and it’s a familiar name.
According to The Athletic reporter Jeff Zrebiec, the Bengals are signing free agent Josh Bynes, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens.
LB Josh Bynes is signing a 1-year deal with the Bengals, per source. So he won’t be returning.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) March 24, 2020
This is a big move for the Bengals’ defense, as Bynes is easily the best player in the linebacking corps now. He actually finished 2019 with a 76.2 Pro Football Focus grade, which is significantly better than any Bengals linebacker had last year.
What made this even bigger is it came just hours after Nick Vigil left to sign with the Los Angeles Chargers, putting the Bengals’ linebacker group in a world of hurt for next season. Bynes may not be a star who dramatically changes a defense, but he’s a major boost to what is easily the biggest position of weakness on the Bengals’ roster.
Bynes appeared in 12 games (7 starts) last year and racked up 46 total tackles, four pass deflections, two interceptions and one sack. He did so after not signing with Baltimore until October 2nd.
The 30-year-old journeyman was previously with the Arizona Cardinals from 2017-18, where he appeared in 25 games (12 starts). His 2018 season was cut short after a thumb injury landed him on injured reserve on November 26, 2018.
Prior to that, the 6-1, 235-pound Bynes spent three years with the Detroit Lions. He was originally an undrafted free agent out of Auburn in 2011 who signed with Baltimore and spent his first three NFL seasons there.
In 101 career games, Bynes has recorded 378 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 26 pass deflections, 12 QB hits, 4.5 sacks and four interceptions.
Again, Bynes wouldn’t be a big pickup for a lot of NFL teams, but for the Bengals, he was a much-needed addition that will bring some stability and veteran leadership at linebacker, something they desperately needed.