One of the many Cincinnati Bengals defensive backs to hit free agency this offseason is Leon Hall, who right now seems closer to signing with the Dallas Cowboys or the Arizona Cardinals instead of coming back to his former team.
Hall, 31, has already visited the Cardinals with the Cowboys next on his list. The Bengals have re-signed Adam Jones (who was also linked with the Cowboys) and more importantly George Iloka, but Reggie Nelson and Hall remain free agents.
Hall has been with the Bengals since 2007, and was even a second-team All-Pro in 2009. He has two AFC Defensive player of the week awards, including one from last season for his six tackles and pick six performance against the St. Louis Rams. But after being a starter for his first eight seasons on the team, Hall got a bit of a demotion last season. He played in 14 games, starting in just 4 of them. Usually his role would be the right side cornerback, but he started getting moved all over the field, including playing some safety. He finished the season with two interceptions (for his third career touchdowns) and 55 tackles.
Hall had a $9.6 million cap hit last season, but he’s not going to come close to that on his next deal (his previous contract was for $39 million over four years). The Cardinals have $15.1 million under the cap and the Cowboys are at $13.5 million after making some changes to players contracts. The Cowboys are in need of some cornerback and secondary upgrade, but not enough to pay Hall the kind of money he made in the past.
A first round pick out of Michigan in 2007, Hall has played 121 times for the Bengals, including 105 starts. He has 26 career interceptions with three returned for a touchdown. He has four playoff appearances with them and one postseason interception, but he’s never tasted a playoff win.