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Bengals have a visit scheduled with Virginia safety Joey Blount

Are the Bengals planning for the future or scouting a future opponent?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 William & Mary at Virginia Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have a visit scheduled with Virginia safety Joey Blount. This sets off alarms in fans’ heads about what this means for the future of current safety Jessie Bates, but it may not be as bad as it appears.

This news was first reported by Justin Melo of The Draft Network. The Bengals are among plenty of teams bringing Blount in after he had an amazing Pro Day.

Blount showed out at Virginia last season. He had three interceptions, 86 tackles, five tackles for a loss and a sack. He obviously has playmaking ability that is very coveted at his position, and he would make a fine addition to just about any secondary in the NFL.

The problem is the Bengals currently have one of the best safeties in the NFL franchise tagged waiting for an extension, Jessie Bates. Having a player like this visit may indicate that the team isn’t confident that they will be able to retain Bates, or that there may be an issue getting the safety to play on the franchise tag.

Obviously, until a deal gets done with Bates, all we are left to do is speculate whether he will be a Bengal for the long term or not. However, this visit doesn’t necessarily mean Cincinnati is doing this solely to scout a player they are after. It may be a calculated move to get a closer look at a player who they could be facing for years to come.

Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson’s tweet likely points to the Cleveland Browns — who have a huge need at safety — also being in on Blount after the Pittsburgh Steelers were also listed as having a visit lined up with the safety. With where both the Browns and Steelers are drafting, it is very likely they could land Blount without issue.

Blount right now is viewed as a late first round pick, but testing like that may have some scouts going back to their tape. The Bengals could very well be one of those teams. They could see a potential Bates replacement at a much cheaper cost. You won’t get the same level of play at safety that was a huge reason Cincinnati made it through the playoffs, but this team is going to be making incredibly tough choices on who to keep from this talented young core for years to come.