The Bengals clearly had a mission at the start of free agency, and it has been to get what has been to get this defense back to an acceptable level. Their latest addition comes in the form of former-Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton.
The deal is reportedly worth $24 million over four years. That means Hilton will be paid a solid but not bank-breaking $6 million per season in Cincinnati.
Hilton, who turned 27 this month, is one of the most respected slot corners in the NFL, which has become a crucial position as more teams go to three-wide receiver sets a majority of the time in games.
Give me CB Mike Hilton to play in the slot pic.twitter.com/6qqssQ6GDU— Brad Graham (@GrahamTSFN) March 16, 2021
Hilton is unique, though, because he also helps provide pressure on the quarterback. During his time in Pittsburgh, Hilton has recorded 9.5 sacks to go along with seven interceptions. Pro Football Focus also had Hilton ranked as their fourth-best corner available in free agency, which gives you an idea how reliable he is.
In classic AFC North fashion, Hilton (5-9, 184) has earned reputation of not being afraid to hit above his weight class. He has often found defenders in the backfield, and he hasn’t been afraid to let them know of his presence on impact. This is obviously a move to get a little tougher in the secondary that started with the team signing Vonn Bell at safety last season. Now with Jessie Bates paired with Bell at safety to go along with Trae Waynes, recently acquired Chidobe Awuzie and now Hilton, the secondary seems to be in pretty nice condition.
Mike Hilton has also excelled in coverage over the course of his career.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 16, 2021
Hilton is 1 of 5 DBs (the only slot CB) to allow less passes to be completed than expected in coverage in each of the last four seasons (min. 40 targets in a season). pic.twitter.com/bf4xDFLluL
It is hard to avoid the elephant in the room that this meant Cincinnati abandoned hope on getting William Jackson III to return to the team. The Bengals acquired two young corners in their prime for roughly what Jackson just about would’ve cost them.
How will that play out? Time will tell, but things could’ve been worse after losing a talented player like Jackson.
What are your thoughts on the Bengals adding their former AFC North rival’s corner?
Do you approve of the addition of Mike Hilton?
This poll is closed
He is one of the best slot corners in the league, of course I approve!
I would’ve preferred we kept William Jackson over signing both of these corners.
Given the business side of things, I’m okay with the signing, but I’m not excited about it.
Wake me up when the Bengals sign an offensive lineman.