NFL free agency officially starts on March 17th, but teams can sign free agents who’ve been released by their prior team before then. A familiar face has already landed on his feet. In his first major personnel move, Terry Fontenot released long-time, fan-favorite Ricardo Allen. In a farewell I wrote, I guaranteed there would be a market for the former Purdue Boilermaker, and according to Adam Schefter, Allen visited with the Cincinnati Bengals today.

In a disappointing season, Allen started 12 games for Atlanta in 2020, finishing with 25 tackles, five passes defended, and two interceptions. He’s on the right side of 30, and as I noted in the farewell, the market for a versatile and experienced leader will be hot.

Allen plays so intelligently that learning a new system won’t be difficult. He will surely impart his wisdom on younger players, which could be exactly what a young secondary in Cincinnati needs. Allen can play single-high safety, rotate down in the box or the slot, blitz, and support the run from everywhere. He wasn’t elite in any area by any means, but he can hold his own in most instances.

The Bengals could use a depth piece like Allen as safeties Brandon Wilson and Shawn Williams are set to hit free agency this offseason.

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This article first appeared on SportsTalkATL and was syndicated with permission.

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