Well, the Bengals front office sure shut us all up. After years of sitting out making any moves in free agency, Cincinnati has made a flurry of really really good moves. The latest is luring former-Saints safety, Vonn Bell, into stripes.
Per ESPN, it’s a three-year deal worth $18 million, a nice contract for a starting safety.
There isn’t too much bad to say here. Bell has been a exceptional strong/box safety over his four seasons in the NFL. He is well known for his ability to help in the running game, sure tackling, and he has an explosiveness that allows him to keep short and intermediate routes from turning into big gains. Those are all things the Bengals’ defense has struggled with over the Andy Dalton era.
Bell also allows the Bengals some flexibility in a number of areas. First off, he allows the Bengals to line up Shawn Williams however they deem fit. Whether that is playing more linebacker (something he excelled at last season when given the chance) or playing more cover 2 zones with Jessie Bates on the back end. This also means that they don’t have to stress about giving Williams another contract if they don’t want to.
The other area this signing helps with is in the draft. This crosses out another position the Bengals were going to have to worry about during the draft. The team was previously aggressive about bringing in cornerbacks, but after losing Clayton Fejedelem to the Dolphins, the Bengals needed another safety on the roster, and some felt like they may attack it as soon as the second round to put themselves in the situation where they have Williams’ replacement for a few seasons.
The one knock some may find on Bell was he struggled a bit in pass coverage last season, but John Sheeran has a great explanation for that:
bell had his best season in nola in 2018 before regressing in coverage a bit in 2019 and i think we should know why.— john sheeran (@John__Sheeran) March 25, 2020
2018 snap alignment:
2019 snap alignment:
just don't play him deep!
The Bengals will likely have three new starting defensive backs come opening day with Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander also likely to be starting. It will be hard to even recognize this defense, but Bell should help ease the transition early.
How do you feel about Cincinnati bringing in another big name free agent?
What are your feelings on the Bengals’ signing former-Saint safety Vonn Bell?
This poll is closed
I can’t stop smiling over the way this offseason has gone.
I was looking forward to drafting a safety in the second round
The flexibility he adds with the defense off the field and decision making off of it makes this an incredible signing
I hate the Bengals doing fun things