9:23am: The Bengals and Iloka are closing in on a five-year deal that would be worth about $30MM, a source tells Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter link).
8:45am: The Bengals are closing in on a deal with star safety George Iloka, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). That’s a nice victory for the Bengals who have already lost Marvin Jones to free agency today.
Iloka, 26 at the end of the month, is poised to receive a nice deal this offseason thanks to his ability and young age. This past season, the strong safety appeared in 12 games (all starts) and recorded 47 total tackles with four pass deflections and one interception. Pro Football Focus (sub. required) rated Iloka as the 15th best safety in the NFL last year, placing him behind fellow unrestricted free agents Reggie Nelson and Rodney McLeod.
As far as we’re concerned, Iloka stands as the best free agent safety on the open market this offseason. Our top five has Iloka at No. 1, followed by Eric Weddle, McLeod, Tashaun Gipson, and Reggie Nelson. Nelson led the league in interceptions and made the Pro Bowl last season, but Iloka is seven years younger and therefore has more earning power. Iloka, of course, also has the age advantage over longtime Charger Weddle.
Iloka and Jones were said to be the Bengals‘ priority free agents this offseason with roughly $15MM in total budgeted towards the team’s UFAs. Losing Jones probably stings for Cincinnati, but the club can now reappropriate that money towards other areas.
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