Ex-Saints S Vonn Bell, Bengals Reportedly Agree to 3-Year, $18M Contract

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMarch 25, 2020

New Orleans Saints strong safety Vonn Bell (24) returns a fumble to the end zone that was called back after the ruling on the field was down by contact, in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Former New Orleans Saints safety Vonn Bell is moving on to the Cincinnati Bengals.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, Bell agreed to a three-year deal to join a rebuilt Bengals secondary. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the deal is worth $18 million.

Cincinnati previously agreed to free-agent deals with cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander. 

The Saints signed veteran two-time Super Bowl champion safety Malcolm Jenkins to a four-year, $32 million deal in mid-March but, according to NewOrleans.Football's Nick Underhill, not before offering Bell a comparable deal "around the neighborhood of $7.5 million per season" (h/t Saints Wire's John Sigler).

"To clarify on this since it has been misinterpreted, Vonn Bell never turned down an offer," Underhill tweeted. "There was an offer out to Bell and the Saints moved on to Malcolm Jenkins."

New Orleans drafted Bell in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft out of Ohio State. The 25-year-old appeared in all 48 regular-season games across his first three seasons in the league and started 32 of those. In 2019, Bell was limited to 13 games, but all of them were starts. He missed three games with a knee injury.

Bell's first career interception came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 17, 2019, but he has consistently been an impactful player in other facets of the game:

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Overall, Bell recorded seven forced fumbles, 14 passes defended and 348 tackles (252 solo) as a Saint.

Moving forward with the Bengals, Bell figures to slot in as a starting safety to upgrade a pass defense that tied for last in the NFL with 8.3 passing yards allowed per attempt in 2019.