Bengals to sign free agent and former Vikings first-round pick Trae Waynes, per report


The Cincinnati Bengals have focused on retooling their defense in the opening days of the legal free agency tampering period. On Tuesday, the Bengals made Texan D.J. Reader the highest paid nose tackle in the NFL with a four-year, $53 million deal that will be signed (and become official) when free agency opens on Wednesday. Shortly after that news broke, the Bengals agreed to terms with former Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Waynes lands a three-year, $42 million deal, per a source close to Rappoport. Waynes will get $20 million in the first year and averages of $14 million over the course of the deal.

The 11th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Waynes helped the Vikings’ defense become one of the league’s most formidable units over the past several years. In 74 regular season games (53 starts) with the Vikings, Waynes tallied 247 tackles, seven interceptions, and 24 passes defense. In 2019, Waynes helped Minnesota’s defense finished fifth in the NFL in scoring and second in red zone efficiency.  

Reader and Waynes will join a Bengals’ defense that is anchored by a solid defensive line that includes perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins, two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap, and fellow defensive end Sam Hubbard, who finished second to Dunlap for the team lead with 8.5 sacks in 2019. The Bengals’ defense also features a formidable duo at safety in Shawn Williams and Jessie Bates. An eight-year veteran, Williams is two years removed from when he led the NFL in interception return yardage. Bates, a 2018 second-round pick, recorded 100 tackles last season to go with three interceptions and nine passes defensed.  

The Bengals, who claimed last month that they would be aggressive in free agency, placed the franchise tag on former Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green on Monday. Green will look to make life easier for the quarterback the Bengals are expected to select with the first overall pick in the 2020 draft. CBS Sports NFL draft analysts Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso have the Bengals selecting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow in their most recent mock drafts. 

The Vikings have now lost two starters since NFL teams could begin speaking with impending free agents during the tampering period. On Monday night, the Bills came to terms on a deal with former Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, leaving Minnesota with another need to address over the next two months. 





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