The Cincinnati Bengals have made another major free agency splash.
This time, it’s in the form of free agent safety Vonn Bell, who has reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with the Bengals.
Bell has enjoyed a standout career with the New Orleans Saints, and he’ll now look to upgrade the safety position in Cincinnati, which also could lead to Shawn Williams playing more linebacker this year, so this move could wind up upgrading two positions.
Originally a second-round pick by way of the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2016, Bell has racked up 348 tackles, 14 pass deflections, seven forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, 17 QB hits, 14 tackles for loss, eight sacks and one interception across 61 career games (45 starts).
Bell wasn’t quite at his best in 2019, as he finished with a 64.6 Pro Football Focus grade, one year after his 75.3 mark in 2018 when he became one of the game’s best safeties.
The 5-11, 205-pound Bell will essentially take Williams’ spot at strong safety. That’s not to say Williams wasn’t good, but he was used in what was effectively a safety/linebacker hybrid role last year. Now, Williams figures to play linebacker even more in 2020, which is good news since it’s easily the biggest position of weakness right now, and Williams did do well in that role.
New #Bengals signing Vonn Bell will offer more support in the box than in coverage.— Evan McPhillips (@emcphil) March 25, 2020
He's played 800+ snaps and recorded an 85+ run-defense grade in three of four seasons. He is also a pass-rush threat, registering 11 sacks and 34 total pressures on 169 pass-rush attempts (@PFF)
Bell will also help the Bengals overcome the loss of Clayton Fejedelem who played a lot of snaps in a reserve role during his Bengals career before signing with the Miami Dolphins this offseason.
This is the latest of several moves the Bengals have made to revamp the secondary, which includes the additions of cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander, Trae Waynes and Leshaun Sims.
A new dey indeed.