On Friday via Twitter, Bengals free agent cornerback Terence Newman tweeted that he would be returning to Cincinnati. Newman is the latest of a wave of free-agent re-signings in Cincinnati. The only remaining free agent to sign is the largest, not only in size but also in magnitude: Andre Smith.
Newman was drafted by the Cowboys in 2003 when now-Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was the defensive coordinator in Dallas. Newman also tweeted that his relationship with Zimmer was an even larger factor than the money.
Newman's return brings depth and experience to the Bengals' defensive secondary, a group likely looking to draft a young safety to play opposite Reggie Nelson. Veterans Nate Clements and Chris Crocker have likely seen their last plays in the NFL, and CB Jason Allen is now on the bubble of the 53-man roster (via Bengals.com).
Both Newman and Smith share the same agent, Ben Dogra, and according to Bengals.com editor Geoff Hobson, discussions for the Smith deal continued through the negotiations of the Newman deal. As time moves on, it begs the question: Will the Bengals actually resign Andre Smith and for how much?
Originally, Smith asked for $9 million which was as outrageous then as it is now. The smoke has settled, and the market is pretty much set. Jake Long, the top-ranked free agent offensive tackle, signed with the Rams for an average of $8.5 million over four years.
The re-signing of Terence Newman means that Zimmer returns all key parts of the Bengals' sixth-ranked defense from last year minus losing Manny Lawson to the Bills. Lawson contributed at outside linebacker on about a third of the Bengals' plays.
The re-signing of Andre Smith will put the Bengals in position to do a lot of productive things in the NFL draft next month. But does Andre want to come back?