Bengals signing former Ravens safety

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The Cincinnati Bengals are pulling from within their division to add to their safety room.

Geno Stone, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, is signing a two-year, $15 million deal with a $6 million signing bonus, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The NFL’s legal tampering period opened Monday, allowing teams to begin negotiations with pending free agents before the new league calendar officially begins Wednesday. Stone is the first outside free agent reported to be signing with the Bengals.

The 24-year-old free safety stepped into a full-time role with the Ravens last year for the first time and recorded seven interceptions, while posting a coverage grade of 84.9. That ranked seventh best at his position. In his four seasons with Baltimore, he produced 127 tackles and eight interceptions across 51 games.

Cincinnati had need for a veteran safety, and with Stone -- a seventh-round pick by Baltimore in 2020 -- entering just his second contract, he was an ideal candidate. He’s still young in his career but experienced enough to step in and make an impact. His productivity in coverage made him especially intriguing, though he struggled last year against the run, which is an area the Bengals need to improve.

The Bengals had signed strong safety Nick Scott in free agency last year, but after 10 games, he was replaced by rookie Jordan Battle. Second-year player Dax Hill, a versatile defensive back, struggled at the free safety spot, and communication was an issue with so many young players in the secondary, including second-year player Cam Taylor-Britt and rookie D.J. Turner at cornerback.

Hill’s role will now come into question with the signing of Stone, but the Bengals’ 2023 first-round draft pick has been said to be capable of filling multiple positions.

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