Updated: 11:05 p.m.
Former Cowboys safety Roy Williams, who went to four of his five Pro Bowls under Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, is to visit Cincinnati on Thursday, according to the Dallas Morning News.
With Williams counting $6.6 million against the salary cap this year Dallas released him a few weeks ago into free agency, where agent Jordan Woy has told the Cowboys media his client has turned down an offer.
Williams, who turns 29 in August, played only three games this past year after he fractured his right forearm twice. It was the first year he's missed games because of injury and he's out to prove he's still got the same kind of talent that made him the hardest-hitting safety in the game under Zimmer in Dallas, which the NFL Competition Committee even honored a few years back with the Roy Williams Rule that outlaws the horse collar tackle.
Zimmer and Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis like their safeties to be interchangeable, meaning they want them to both play the run and to cover. When word of the visit broke Thursday night out of Dallas, Zimmer took time to remind people that he didn't consider Williams a run-only player in Dallas.
In his five seasons under Zimmer, Williams not only averaged 90-plus tackles, but he also had 17 interceptions.
The Bengals have already reaped the rewards of Zimmer's relationship with another safety, Chris Crocker, a guy that played for him only a year in Atlanta. Signed in late October, Crocker started the last six games for the Bengals and earned a starting job with a four-year, $10 million deal and the ensuing release of Dexter Jackson.
The Bengals like the other starting safety, Chinedum Ndukwe, but they've had success rotating at that spot according to situations. Another safety, Marvin White, an Opening Day starter last year, is coming off reconstructive knee surgery.
The Bengals backed off in free agency after using up an estimated $15 million in cap room in the first week. The numbers that have been reported suggest they have been looking to sign players for depth rather than to start. Where this leaves them with Williams is unclear.
Williams was working on a deal that gave him the highest signing bonus ever for a safety , a guarantee in excess of $11 million.
Woy told Todd Archer, the Cowboys beat man for the Morning News, that Williams has the possibilty of two other visits beyond this trip.