In baseball, if you hit above .300, you’re considered a star. The Cincinnati Bengals went 1 for 3 in free agency with their top free agents. That’s a .333 average, so there’s a silver lining.
Moments ago, Ian Rapaport announced the Bengals are re-signing corner Dre Kirkpatrick.
The contract details are not available at the moment. But Kirkpatrick himself tweeted the length of his new contract.
“Cincy I’m coming home 5 more years.” — @DreKirkSWAG
Reports surfaced that Kirkpatrick, the 17th overall pick in 2012, was drawing interest from Pittsburgh and Tennessee. The Steelers finished 16th against the pass last season and the Titans were the worst pass defense in the AFC.
Kirkpatrick is a high-risk, high-reward corner. Over the last two years, he is tied at the position for most missed tackles and penalties, however, he turned in his best season in 2016, starting 14 games and tallying three interceptions.
Pro Football Focus dubbed Kirkpatrick the best corner against the go route in 2016. He was targeted nine times on such routes and did not allow a single catch.
Busy day for Bengals
News of Kirkpatrick’s return comes on the same day the Bengals lost free agents, Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler.
Whitworth signed a three-year deal with the Rams for $36 million and in-state rival Cleveland made Zeitler the highest paid guard in NFL history.
Letting Kirkpatrick go was simply not an option for the Bengals’ secondary. Adam Jones is on the bubble after getting arrested in early January and the rest of the defensive backfield is filled with young guys with limited to no experience — Darqueeze Dennard, William Jackson III, and KeiVarae Russell.
The Bengals still have more negotiating to do with their pending free agents. Tackle Eric Winston seems like a must-sign at the moment following Whitworth’s departure.
Rex Burkhead is a fan-favorite but could find new suitors after an impressive end to last season.