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Bengals made a run at Sheldon Rankins before he picked Jets

The Bengals remain aggressive in pursing instant-impact free agents.

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Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have already made several splash moves on defense, and they attempted to make another in the form of Sheldon Rankins.

Unfortunately, the Bengals missed out as Rankins agreed to a deal with the New York Jets.

A 6-2, 305 pound defensive lineman entering his sixth NFL season, Rankins would have been a major upgrade to a defensive line that’s lost Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap over the last year.

In 63 games (33 starts), the former Louisville star racked up 17.5 sacks, 44 QB hits, 25 tackles for loss and 116 total tackles with the Saints, who drafted him 12th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Rankins would have signed a significantly larger deal had he not missed 10 games over the last two seasons due to injury. He’s still getting a solid deal with the Jets, but when Rankins is on, he can play at an elite level, as evidenced by his 79.0 Pro Football Focus grade during the 2018 season in which he played every game. He finished this past season with a 57.8 PFF grade in 12 games (one start).

On to the next one.