TDBH: Bengals get the Full Nelson with a four-year deal
March 18, 2018 01:27 PM | Geoff Hobson

In what will turn out to be one of the more significant deals in the Green-Dalton Era, the Bengals secure the services of starter Reggie Nelson with the biggest safety deal of free agency and over the next four years he'll become a Big Ben Killer with six interceptions of the Steelers quarterback. After coming to Cincinnati in a 2010 pre-season trade that sent back-up cornerback David Jones and a seventh-round pick to Jacksonville, Nelson, 28, the Jags' former No. 1 pick, revives his career in Cincinnati in defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's scheme. He has a solid 2011 season in which he starts all 16 games for the first time in his five NFL seasons and leads the team in interceptions with four. He draws high grades from for his coverage skills and becomes the top safety on the market. "I got traded and I came in and I waited for my time," Nelson says. "It worked out well. I feel more at home in Cincinnati."

Nelson admits it's a tough day today as he weighs offers from the Bengals and the Jets. It's believed they were both meaty, more than $4 million per year, but Nelson is thinking about a lot of things. He says after taking three years to find a home, he's found it. "I'd be lying if I didn't say it was hard," Nelson says. "I had a great visit with the Jets. Yeah, I went back and forth. But my agent was able to come to a great agreement with the Brown (family). I'm back in orange and black." The Bengals waste no time cashing in. In the next-to-last game of the upcoming season, the Bengals go to Pittsburgh with the winner going to the Wild Card and the loser going home. With 14 seconds left and staring at OT, Nelson picks off Ben and after Andy Dalton's frozen 21-yard rope to A.J. Green on the sidelines, Josh Brown's 43-yard field goal puts Cincinnati in the postseason. Three years later in Pittsburgh Nelson picks off Ben twice in the fourth quarter as the Bengals run to 7-0 in a 16-10 victory. Nelson finishes that season with an NFL-best eight interceptions and his first Pro Bowl berth. At the end of the contract, he'll have 23 interceptions in stripes for No. 6 on the Bengals' all-time list.

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