Posted by Ryan Wilson
When the Bengals opted not to re-sign 2006 first-round pick cornerback Johnathan Joseph, and the Texans eventually gave him $48.75 million over five years to bolster their secondary, it was clear that the team would make a concerted effort to keep cornerback Leon Hall.
(Even if the Bengals wanted him back, it's not clear Joseph would've returned. In July, ESPN's John Clayton said Joseph "would leave Cincinnati for a dollar more than the Bengals are offering.")
That's exactly what happened Friday.
Earlier in the week, the team traded for cornerback Kelly Jennings, a former Seahawks first-rounder, and now the Bengals have extended Hall, one of the best players on the team. It's a four-year, $39-million contract extension that will keep him in Cincy through 2015, according to ESPN.
CBSSports.com's Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner adds that the deal includes $14.1 million guarantees (his 2011 salary increases to $5.1 million from $3 million, and he gets a $9 million roster bonus), and that extending Hall was on the radar before Joseph left for Houston. ESPN adds that he's expected to receive another $5 million roster bonus March 1.
Dehner writes that "Hall, 26, has more interceptions (18) than any player his age or younger except the Jets' Antonio Cromartie, also 26 with 18 interceptions. In fact, only 10 active players younger than 30 have more picks than the Bengals corner." He's now tasked with leading a defense that must keep the Bengals in games while the offense finds its way with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton under center.
In addition to the Jennings trade and the Hall extension, the Bengals last week traded for safety Taylor Mays, who had fallen out of favor in San Francisco after just one season. On Wednesday, the team also extended left tackle Andrew Whitworth.
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