Bengals To Re-Sign LB Germaine Pratt

Germaine Pratt‘s strong contract year upped his value, but he will not end up relocating. The Bengals have reached a deal to retain the ascending linebacker, Tom Pelissero of tweets.

The veteran linebacker will stay in Cincinnati on a three-year, $21MM deal that includes $10.35MM in Year 1. Pratt and Logan Wilson will remain in place as Cincy’s top linebackers, with the latter going into a contract year. Wilson should be expected to secure a higher-value extension, seeing as the Bengals use him as a three-down linebacker, but Pratt has become a key piece for Lou Anarumo’s defense.

As Pratt agreed to stay in town, the Bengals lost Vonn Bell to the Panthers. They are also expected to see Jessie Bates depart. That will provide a challenge for Anarumo, considering those two worked as Cincy’s primary safety starters for the past three years. Pratt returning will certainly help the team’s front seven, however.

Timing his contract year well, Pratt totaled a career-high 99 tackles (six for loss) and intercepted two passes. Pro Football Focus ranked the former third-round pick as its No. 11 off-ball linebacker in 2022. Pratt has been a regular throughout his career, having started 54 games for the Bengals.

This will create an interesting equation for the Bengals, who could have two off-ball ‘backers on notable contracts before this season begins. Wilson became eligible for an extension in January. The tackling dynamo has seen the field more often than Pratt, who voiced issues with being taken off the field in certain sub-packages. Pratt, however, is responsible for one of the most pivotal turnovers in Bengals history. He intercepted Derek Carr to lock up the team’s 2021 wild-card win over the Raiders. Pratt also picked off Tom Brady during Cincinnati’s comeback win in Tampa last year, and he log a career-high 76% snap rate on defense last season.

Starters flooded this year’s linebacker market, so it is not too surprising Pratt did not fetch an upper-crust deal here. He will stay with the Bengals for essentially lower-middle-class money at the position. As Joe Burrow‘s extension looms, however, the team finding money to pay a role player on defense could be important.

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