The Bengals announced the signing of linebacker Kevin Minter on Monday morning. It’s a one-year deal worth roughly $4.5MM, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter links). While the Bengals were willing to give Minter a lengthier contract, Minter wants the opportunity to hit the 2018 free agent market, tweets Owczarski.
Searching for a linebacker to join the club’s incumbent crop after losing Karlos Dansby to the Cardinals, Cincinnati met with both Minter and fellow free agent Keenan Robinson over the past week. Minter, who now becomes the second external free agent signed by the Bengals (joining Andre Smith), will vie for playing time along with Vontaze Burfict, Vincent Rey, Nick Vigil, and — for now — Rey Maualuga.
Minter, 26, ranked as PFR’s No. 22 overall free agent, but didn’t quite see his market develop as expected. While Minter had expressed a desire to reunite with former Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles in New York, only the Colts and Bengals had invited Minter for a visit since the free agent period opened. In PFR’s most recent positional power rankings, Minter placed second at linebacker behind only Zach Brown.
Minter has started all 32 games over the past two seasons, and played the most snaps (1,003) of any Cardinals linebacker in 2016. In that time, he racked up 81 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and four passes defensed while grading as the league’s No. 25 linebacker, per Pro Football Focus.
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