No matter what happens with safety Reggie Nelson, the Bengals appear ready to make Jason Allen a full-time cornerback if their deal with him comes off as reported by NFL.com.
The league's Web site reported Saturday night that Allen has agreed to a two-year, $8.2 million deal with the Bengals, a deal that the club didn't confirm.
Meanwhile, Nelson mulled offers from the Bengals, Jets and a mystery team with expectations he'd make his call Sunday morning.
Just like the Bengals made Nelson a full-time safety when they got him in a trade with Jacksonville before the 2010 season, it's believed that the Bengals are going to use Allen only as a cornerback to supplement starters Nate Clements and Leon Hall and use as insurance for Hall's recovery from a torn Achilles.
With Hall hoping to take his first snap at training camp's first practice, Allen would get plenty of snaps opposite Clements during the spring drills. With the presence of third-rounder Brandon Ghee and the expected arrival of a rookie cornerback in the draft, the Bengals future of free agent Adam Jones, last year's third corner, is murky at best as well as that of free agent Kelly Jennings with four top corners already in the fold before the draft if Allen signs.
Allen took nearly 50 percent of the snaps as a backup in the Texans playoff run last season. A first-round pick of the Dolphins in 2006, Allen would become the fifth first-round corner to play for the club in the past two years. At 6-2, 200 pounds, he's got the size head coach Marvin Lewis loves and the willingness to tackle that defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer demands.
According to profootballfocus.com, Allen's receivers were targeted 71 times and caught 36 balls for four TDs. Jones's receivers were targeted 32 times and caught 16 balls. Allen held QBs to a 65 passer rating, Jones 82.
Allen is known to play the ball well and led the Texans with four interceptions, which would have been the most by a Cincinnati corner last season. In 23 starts, he has 15 interceptions.
"He finished the year our 44th ranked cornerback and is likely to contend for a starting spot after a decent enough year in Houston," the Web site said.
Allen will be taking a ton of snaps no matter if he's starting or not because the indication is the Bengals see him as only a corner. One of the reasons Nelson has played better in Cincinnati, it is believed, is because he didn't have to worry about playing corner. Now it looks like Allen won't have to worry about playing safety if he signs.