The Cincinnati Bengals are losing free agents left and right after a 12-4 season, but kept the secondary from falling into disarray by re-signing safety George Iloka to a five-year, $30 million deal just before he hit the open market on Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Iloka, 25, was a fifth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but took over the starting strong safety role for the Bengals in 2013 and never looked back. He developed into a key piece in the secondary and was said to be coveted by the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings, according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer, setting up a bidding war for the young safety.
Instead, Iloka returned to the Bengals at an affordable price for the team, signing for a contract worth an average of $6 million per year. It's unknown whether or not he took a hometown discount to stick with the Bengals, but it's tough to imagine that a competition between several teams on the open market wouldn't have pushed his contract numbers higher.
It's a big coup for the Bengals, as the team has Reggie Nelson, Adam Jones and Leon Hall all scheduled to reach free agency when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET.