Cincinnati Bengals safety Reggie Nelson had a career year in 2011. He was the standout of a middling Bengals secondary and his strong play is one of the reasons the Bengals were able to earn a playoff berth. He is also set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13, unless the team can come to an agreement with him before then.
Joe Reedy at Cincinnati.com took a look at the state of the Bengals secondary in a column posted on Friday. Reedy pointed out that Nelson had the best season of anyone in the position in 2011.
Led the team with four interceptions. He was third on the team in tackles (102). He tied for second on the team in forced fumbles (two), including one that led to a TD return by DE Carlos Dunlap in Week 6 vs. Indianapolis. His first interception was a 75-yarder for a touchdown on Oct. 30 at Seattle, the fifth-longest interception return in Bengals history and the longest since 2002.
Reedy names Nelson as the top priority to re-sign in the secondary. If the Bengals want to keep a key component of their defense intact, they will need to focus on making sure that Nelson does not bolt for another team in the offseason.
For more on the Bengals offseason, be sure to check out Cincy Jungle.