As NFL free agency officially kicks off, the buzz will be around what new players the Cincinnati Bengals are bringing in.
However, one of the more important signings is already done, with a player who wore stripes last year.
Defensive tackle B.J. Hill signed a three-year deal to remain in Cincinnati on Tuesday afternoon, and one person who is thrilled to hear it is defensive line coach, Marion Hobby.
When Hill came to Cincinnati on a trade at the end of August, I don’t think anyone knew what an impact he would go on to make, but Hobby got the best out of him due to his diverse skillset.
“You can do so many things with him,” said Hobby when asked of Hill’s biggest talent via Bengals.com. “He can play the three technique. He can play the G technique (nose tackle). He can rush the passer. He can play the big end on some run downs. His position flex was huge.”
We saw Hill play all of those positions this year, while racking up 5.5 sacks on his way to being a key contributor to a defense that carried the Bengals all the way to the Super Bowl. Who could forget his tip and pick of Patrick Mahomes in the AFC Championship game?
#Bengals re-signing DT BJ Hill to a $30 million contract, per @RapSheet— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 14, 2022
Hill recorded the first of the 2 INTs Patrick Mahomes threw in the AFC Championship game. Helping Cincy come back from down 21-3 to win.pic.twitter.com/UpBMG3iTFb
While Hobby praises Hill, it is clear that the two fed off of each other. Hill attributes his successful season a lot to the work he did with Hobby.
“His attention to detail. He makes me want to get in on the details,” Hill said. “From everything. Footwork to hand work. To just everything. He’s detailed in his work. He wants to be perfect. Even though he knows you’re not always going to be perfect, he wants you to strive for that in everything you do and that’s what elevated my game. He just got me to take the next step forward.”
It was likely the team was going to have to choose between Hill and Larry Ogunjobi this off-season and when that became reality, the opted to sign the player who made the bigger mark on the team. With Hill back in the fold, it will be interesting to see the rest of the moves made along the defensive line, as many are calling for Duke Tobin and company to address the three technique early on in the draft.
For now, we celebrate the fact that one of the more entertaining Bengals is back in town and we look forward to seeing his “rock the baby” celebration more and more in 2022.