The Cincinnati Bengals have re-signed fullback Chris Pressley to a two year extension as reported by the Enquirer's Joe Reedy. The deal locks up one of the Bengals' priority players for the 2012 off season, but one in particular remains a focus of critical need.
Safety Reggie Nelson remains on the market since the team used its franchise tag on kicker Mike Nugent rather than Nelson. Nelson's value in the market increased significantly when no fewer than four other teams either tagged or re-signed their veterans at the position. That makes Nelson and Washington's LaRon Landry the preeminent players available in free agency.
Nelson has been a valuable addition since coming over from Jacksonville in the middle of the 2010 season. He started five games that season and all 16 last year, leading the team in interceptions with four. Nelson's aggressiveness and hard hitting have been a perfect fit for Mike Zimmer's defensive philosophy.
Losing Nelson would be a major blow to the progress of that unit, even if the team drafted or signed another free agent as a replacement. It's likely the team will go in a different direction from Chris Crocker, Nelson's partner in the defensive backfield, and will also be breaking in at least one other starting cornerback, depending on Leon Hall's recovery from an Achilles' injury. Replacing 75 percent of the starters in the secondary is not something Mike Zimmer wants to do.
The team has until Tuesday to get a deal done with Nelson before free agency officially starts and he can receive offers from other teams. It's likely his phone will be ringing quite often once he's on the market, so the Bengals would be wise to act quickly.
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