The Bengals make another big splash in free agency (honestly can’t believe I’m actually writing that. This time the secured a budding star at safety in former-Saint Vonn Bell.
This move helps prove the obvious point of Cincinnati coming into free agency focused on fixing their awful defense from last season.
What were the instant reactions to this signing though?
There is no way any Bengal fan could have predicted we see this flurry of spending from Cincinnati. At best, maybe they add a few contributors, but Bell is yet another starter for this team, and who know if the moves are even done yet.
An actual gasp came out of my mouth... Vonn Bell signing with the #Bengals as the team continues an overhaul of the secondary before the draft even begins.— Rebecca Toback (@Rebecca_Toback) March 25, 2020
By my count, #Bengals have added the following outside free agents over the past week:— Anthony Cosenza (@CJAnthonyCUI) March 25, 2020
DT D.J. Reader
CBs Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, DeShaun Sims, Winston Rose, Tony Brown
S Vonn Bell
LB Josh Bynes
WR Micheal Thomas
OL Xavier Su’a Filo
This is how you attack and utilize FA. Kudos to the Bengals’ FO! Draft completely opened up.— Andre Perrotta (@andreperrotta13) March 25, 2020
what the shit is going on with this bengals front office man— Jake (@Jake_NFL) March 25, 2020
And they are doing it differently. Getting younger guys in their prime.— Lindsay Patterson (@LndsPatterson) March 25, 2020
Bengals DBs landed during free agency:— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) March 25, 2020
CB Trae Waynes
CB Mackensie Alexander
CB LeShaun Sims
S Vonn Bell
*Mike Brown when the new league year started pic.twitter.com/AuSElXEati— Waldo Roren (@Waldo_Roren) March 25, 2020
Not even kidding today I was like, “Man, it would be nice if Cincy were to get Vonn Bell.”— AvidCincyFan (@avidcincyfan) March 25, 2020
Where was this management years before?
Give Zac Taylor and his staff a full offseason and see 2020. 4 weeks from tomorrow they’ll add a quarterback coming off one of the biggest college football seasons.— Lindsay Patterson (@LndsPatterson) March 25, 2020
VON BELL YESSS— Bengals Perspective (@BPBengalsHandle) March 25, 2020
Vonn Bell to the Bengals is the birthday present I needed— Jacob McMillan (@Jmcmillan0325) March 25, 2020
Does this mean you have to rip up your mock draft and start over? https://t.co/fZaibeFesE— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) March 24, 2020
Another good signing by the Bengals. They've really shored up their defense this offseason with Alexander, Waynes and now Bell for their secondary, and Reader and Bynes in the front-7. Draft will address offense, starting with Pick No. 1. https://t.co/nOeLblSUap— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) March 25, 2020
When did you think you would have heard the first sentence of Rap’s tweet in your lifetime? https://t.co/nvqIwqlVpB— Anthony Cosenza (@CJAnthonyCUI) March 25, 2020
I’m old enough to remember when everyone freaked out because the Bengals didn’t make any moves after one day of legal tampering pic.twitter.com/Fj0qxmXoXc— Nick Manchester (@NickManchester9) March 25, 2020
There seems to be some debate over how Bell will be utilized in Cincinnati. Some feel like this allows Shawn Williams to play in the box more. Others think Bell will be the box safety, and there is also the idea that Williams could be on the way out. We also get a what some analysts view as Bell’s strengths and weaknesses.
bell is an upgrade over williams in the role that they asked williams to play last year. williams has played his best in the past when he can come downhill from a deep-half alignment.— john sheeran (@John__Sheeran) March 25, 2020
3 years for bell *probably* means they're thinking about moving on from williams next year.
I've been accused of being too negative on Shawn Williams last few years. Interested to see if they keep him with Bell or if he's on the bubble now.— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) March 25, 2020
Shawn Williams is nearly 4 years older and has only played 400 more snaps in his career than Bell.— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) March 25, 2020
But for a comparison on those coverage stats.
Williams: 72.3% completion, 12 TDs, 12 INTs
Bates: 64.2% completions, 4 TDs, 6 INTs
Shawn Williams, nickel LB— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) March 25, 2020
No safety at 33 now. BRING ME MIMS! pic.twitter.com/H1LXw7HQOl— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) March 25, 2020
Bell: run defense grade of 85+ in each of the past two seasons— PFF (@PFF) March 25, 2020
I’ve been on the Vonn Bell train for a while now! Good box safety, who I believe can improve in pass defense. Bengals continue to re-tool the defense! https://t.co/Ppa25Vi6bn— Andre Perrotta (@andreperrotta13) March 25, 2020
New #Bengals S Vonn Bell had a 64.6 PFF score in 2019. He had 77 total tackles, 1 interception, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles last year.— Anthony Cosenza (@CJAnthonyCUI) March 25, 2020
Only has the 1 INT in career, along w/14 total passes defended. However, it seems as if he’s played both safety spots & even CB a little.
#Saints S Vonn Bell to Cincinnati according to multiple reports. Bengals are getting a good one, ranked 2nd in 2019 in fumbles rec (5). Always appreciated his willingness to do interviews. Here's a link to my sit-down interview w/ him back in Nov: https://t.co/eddEFoniUd@Vonn https://t.co/REkEprWafA— Brooke Kirchhofer (@brookechesney) March 25, 2020
but that's not where you want him.— john sheeran (@John__Sheeran) March 25, 2020
people forget that bates played his best at wake forest as a cover 2 safety. he didn't play a lot of single high there.
i think if you have bates and williams splitting the field and bell in the box, everyone plays their best. https://t.co/FSL0FnW9tk
I'd rather the Bengals not lean into Shawn Williams the LB and just smartly draft LBs. There's time.— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) March 25, 2020
Special welcome from a fellow Buckeye
Sam Hubbard has been busy this offseason supposedly recruiting Joe Burrow into feeling like Cincinnati is changing its stripes, and now he was quick to welcome back to Ohio another former teammate in Bell. Has to make the Buckeye fans feel pretty good to see the Bengals giving this much love to their team.
Vonn Bell is returning to Ohio to play for the Cincinnati Bengals, who now lead the NFL with five former Ohio State players: Bell, Sam Hubbard, Michael Jordan, Billy Price and Isaiah Prince. https://t.co/Hju9Uc0Gqk— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) March 25, 2020