The Cincinnati Bengals have been unwavering from their plan to build through the draft, and avoid big-named free agents in favor of re-signing their own guys. After getting deals done with their key special teamers and some depth players, they used their franchise tag on defensive end Michael Johnson, one of the main focuses this offseason. The still-unsigned Andre Smith was the other high priority, and the teams seems to believe he’ll be back as well. After those two, there were a slew of players who aren’t stars, but who provide various levels of playing time, experience and ability. Of those, the next most important just might be cornerback Terence Newman.
Many fans weren’t thrilled with the addition of Newman prior to last season, as he was considered old and possibly washed up. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer had some history with him, though, and brought him in, thinking he could get a bit more mileage out of the veteran. Well past 30 years of age already, Newman was looked at as more of a stopgap answer than a long-term solution. After several injuries in the secondary, and the ineffectiveness of others, Newman found himself starting opposite Leon Hall. There were some moments where he struggled, and he obviously wasn’t the same player he was ten years ago, but he ended up being one of the better free agent signings for the Bengals. By the end of the season, he had become a key member of not only the secondary, but the defense as a whole.
Newman is set to decide where he’ll play next season any day now, and it seems to have come down to the Bengals and the Oakland Raiders. As his great career winds down, its likely one of his last contracts and he’ll want to do the best thing for himself, a right he has earned. For fans of the Bengals, the best thing would be to have him back in black and orange for the 2013 season. For these two things to converge, Mike Brown needs to do the right thing, and ensure Terence Newman ends his career in Cincinnati.