The Cincinnati Bengals addressed one of their biggest needs Saturday, signing former 49'er and Ohio State cornerback Nate Clements, who was cut earlier by San Francisco. The Niners had hoped to clear up some cap space in order to pursue Nnamdi Ashomuga who eventually signed with Philadelphia.
A native of Cleveland, Clements starred with Ohio State until leaving after his junior season to enter the NFL draft in 2001. He was drafted with the 21st pick by the Buffalo Bills. While in Buffalo, Clements started 91 of 96 games with 23 interceptions and a Pro Bowl appearance in 2004. He parlayed that success into a deal with the 49'ers that made him the highest paid defensive player in the history of the NFL. Clements injured his shoulder forcing him to injured reserve in 2009. His $80 million deal with the 49'ers was ultimately what moved the team to waive him.
Clements replaces Johnathan Joseph opposite Leon Hall in the Bengal secondary. His addition helps the Bengals maintain one of the stronger cornerback tandems in the league. Although the Bengals might lose a step in coverage trading Joseph for Clements, they more than make up for that in Clements' aggressive run defense, something defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer values.
No details have been released regarding the contract.
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