ORLANDO, Fla. - David Canter, the agent for cornerback R.J. Stanford, said Monday at the NFL annual meeting that his client plans to sign with the Bengals in a move that gives them more depth in the wake of Brandon Ghee's departure via free agency to San Diego.
With 41 games under his belt, the 5-10, 180-pound Stanford lands on his third team since he was taken in the seventh round in 2010 by Carolina and brings more experience than Ghee, taken by the Bengals in the third round in 2010.
An extra corner who played primarily on special teams in Miami last season, Stanford, 25, gives special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons another gunner to look at on punt coverage. He played just 28 snaps last season after defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle used him on 147 plays in 2012.
He played in the first 13 games last season, ranking tied for sixth on special teams with five tackles, and missed the last three games with an ankle injury suffered Dec. 8 at Pittsburgh. He played in every game for Miami in 2012, with 15 tackles on defense and six on special teams. He's got one NFL interception and he returned it 53 yards.
The most snaps Stanford has played in the league are the 257 he played in 2011 for Carolina. He'll be vying for that fifth corner spot behind Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Adams Jones, and Dre Kirkpatrick. He should be familiar with parts of the Bengals defense. Coyle was the Bengals' long-time secondary before he went to Miami in 2012.
EXTRA PICKS: The Bengals gained two extra picks and now have nine draft choices in the May 8-10 draft after the NFL awarded them Monday night an extra sixth-rounder (the 212th pick) and an extra seventh-rounder (252) out of 256 selections.
Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council and next year should be a boon for the Bengals when they get compensation for losing unrestricted free agents Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins and not signing expensive UFAs of their own.
This year, the Bears, Falcons, and Bengals qualified for compensatory picks under the net loss formula but will not receive those picks because they ranked 33rd, 34th and 35th, respectively, among all compensatory picks. Atlanta and Cincinnati receive picks for other compensatory free agents lost who ranked within the top 32 compensatory picks. The Bengals lost one starter in SAM backer Manny Lawson, as well as kicker Josh Brown and backups Dan Skuta, Brian Leonard, Bruce Gradkowski and Pat Sims, although Sims and Skuta became heavy contributors on their clubs. The Bengals ended up picking free agents Josh Johnson, Mike Pollak and Alex Smith.
What do the 212th and 252nd picks get you? In the last 10 years they came up with highly productive defensive linemen Jonathan Fanene (2005) and Clinton McDonald (2009) with picks 233 and 249, respectively, and drafted a starting safety before he got hurt in Chinedum Ndukwe (2007) at No. 253.
ZIM LIKES HUNT, D: This how it's been going for rookie Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer at his first NFL meeting, still looking a little weird in purple after all these years in black and orange. During a break in a meeting Monday morning, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera walked by, stuck out his hand, and said. "Congratulations."
"Hey Ron, I appreciate it," Zimmer said.
On Sunday, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher told him, "It's been long overdue. I'm happy for you." And those are two guys he doesn't know all that well.
But he knows the Bengals' third-ranked defense and, have no fear, he thinks they'll be good again. He thinks they'll be able to survive losing right end Michael Johnson and believes Margus Hunt is ready to step up.
"Those guys have a good team. That's a good defensive team," Zimmer said. "They'll be fine. (Wallace) Gilberry is good. I think Margus Hunt will take a big jump. They've positioned themselves we'll for a long time."
Zimmer has broken the silence with his successor, former Bengals linebackers coach Paul Guenther. It was a little bit awkward since everyone thought Guenther would follow Zimmer as his coordinator after he pretty much served as Zimmer's aide de camp for six years.
"Yeah, we've talked some. Those are good players. He'll do fine," Zimmer said. "He's got a good defensive team there. He helped me with protections and he did a good job with the linebackers."
HARRISON NOT STEALING YET: In an interview with Sirius Radio down here, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said he was sorry he didn't get SAM backer James Harrison more snaps before they released him a few weeks ago. It doesn't sound like the Steelers are as hot on the soon-to-be 36-year-old Harrison as they were last week.
"We're never going to close the door on any possibilities at this point, but especially with a guy who is a huge part of your success," said Steelers GM Kevin Colbert. "With that being said, we have to see what is best for our team as we continue to go through this free agency period. There might be other outside linebackers that could help us as well. Like I said, we're just going to continue to look and see as to what's out there.
"As long as James is available, that obviously remains an option but it's something that we have to decide if it's the best thing for the organization at that point."
DOUBLE TEAM: After Bengals Hall-of-Famer Anthony Munoz and son Michael were finished making their presentation to the NFL owners Monday morning , the hope is the league is going to keep expanding its Hispanic initiative into the league's other 18 cities.
With the Munoz's marketing firm the Cincinnati-based Munoz Agency spearheading the league's effort to introduce the NFL to the Hispanic community, they've already brought their program combining football and character building into 14 NFL towns. The post-presentation reaction bodes well.
"They presented well. I was proud to watch them say what they did," said Bengals president Mike Brown, one of three owners that opened up the program to their facilities last year.
Both father and son spoke with Michael, the CEO of the agency, running the owners through the demographics of an exploding population.
"We wanted to show them how it's driving season ticket sales and driving TV viewership," Michael Munoz said. "By 2050, one third of the population is going to be Hispanic and those are young fans. Owners are going to want to start shifting their focus."
Bills head coach Doug Marrone, Michael Munoz's offensive line coach at Tennessee, was one of those enthusiastic supporters who invited him to Buffalo anytime to put on the program. Bengals vice president Katie Blackburn also approached them after the speech and talked about ways of doing the clinic again at PBS.
"We have to think of more things to do," Brown said. "The Hispanic community is growing and we're no exception. We need to find out how to reach out and involve that community in football. We're lucky to have father and son Munoz leading the charge in our area."