Cincinnati Bengals sign Vonn Bell: Grade, reaction and more

Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, NFL Free Agency

After four years with the New Orleans Saints, safety Vonn Bell has signed a three-year deal to play for the Cincinnati Bengals in his free agency.

The Cincinnati Bengals have quietly made a few big splashes in free agency. After signing defensive tackle D.J. Reader away from the Houston Texans, the Bengals were able to land former New Orleans Saints safety Vonn Bell about a week later. Bell returns to the state where he played his college ball up in the road in Columbus for Ohio State.

According to Ian Rapport and Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, Bell is signing a three-year deal to join the Bengals after four years with the Saints. Bell joins former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Trae Waynes as newcomers to the Bengals secondary. For a team that went 2-14 last season, the Bengals have been out-of-character this offseason making some serious moves.

Though it might be a while before the Bengals offense is back to what it was half a decade ago, it does seem the defense is getting better in a hurry. Adding players like Reader, Waynes and now Bell to a group that features two excellent front-seven players in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap and the Bengals could be in for quite the turnaround defensively this fall.

Here are the contract details, the national reaction and a grade for Bell signing with the Bengals.

Contract Details

Updated: Per Rapoport and Garofolo’s initial report, it was a three-year deal to bring Bell to the Bengals and away from the Saints. A few hours later, Rapoport and Garafolo reported the three-year deal was worth $18 million with $11.5 million in guarantees. Bell will make on average $6 million each year of the life of this new deal he signed with the Bengals.

National Reaction

Bell was a former second-round pick by the Saints out of Ohio State. Known for his nose for the football, this is a tough loss for the Saints. While they did get former Saint Malcolm Jenkins back on a long-term deal, Bell is considerably younger than Jenkins and about to enter his prime as a professional football player.

To see the Bengals be big spenders in free agency is odd. This is notoriously one of the cheapest teams in the NFL. The organization is taking the offseason seriously. Bell is now the fifth former Buckeye to play for the Bengals. Should the Bengals draft Joe Burrow No. 1 overall this spring, the former Ohio State graduate transfer to LSU will make it six. Great move for the Bengals.

Grade: B+

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