It’s been more than three weeks since former Atlanta Falcons safety Ricardo Allen reportedly visited Cincinnati to visit with Bengals coaches and front office personnel. It has been more than a month since the Falcons released him after seven years of service. But on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network/NFL.com reported that Allen, 29, is signing a one-year contract with the Bengals, per agent Drew Rosenhaus.
The Bengals have yet to announce the signing and no contractual details have been revealed. For what it’s worth, Allen earned a salary of $5.25 million in his final season with the Falcons.
Ricardo Allen’s Falcons Career
Allen—5-foot-9 and 186 pounds—joined Atlanta in 2014, when the Falcons made him a fifth-round pick out of Purdue. He served as a starter between 2015-2020, making 76 starts in that time frame and recording 340 total tackles (245 solo). In addition, he intercepted 11 passes, with one sack and one fumble recovery.
Allen has been mostly very durable over the years, though he missed 13 games in 2018 with an Achilles tendon tear that he suffered during an overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints.
He will be part of a Bengals secondary that has been largely re-made in free agency with the additions of cornerbacks Eli Apple and Chidobe Awuzie, the latter of whom comes to Cincinnati from the Dallas Cowboys on a three-year contract. The Bengals also have a brand-new slot cornerback in former Pittsburgh Steelers slot specialist Mike Hilton, who has been inked to a four-year deal.
Follow the Heavy on Falcons Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Falcons Safety Scorecard: Updated
Ricardo Allen isn’t the only former Falcons safety to have found a new home, as former Atlanta first-round pick Keanu Neal has already joined the Dallas Cowboys. Fellow unrestricted free agent Damontae Kazee has also reportedly visited with the Cowboys, and is soon expected to meet with the Detroit Lions as well.
The Falcons have replaced just one of the above-named trio, adding former Las Vegas Raiders safety Erik Harris on a reported one-year contract. No doubt Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot is familiar with Harris from his time with the Saints—the NFL team that gave the California University of Pennsylvania product his first chance in the league after a three-year apprenticeship with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL.
It’s highly likely that the Falcons will use at least one of its nine 2021 draft choices on a safety. At the moment, rising second-year SS Jaylinn Hawkins is the only other safety on the offseason roster.
Meanwhile, Atlanta has also made two budget additions at the linebacker position in the form of former Patriots and Jets outside linebacker Brandon Copeland and former No. 6 overall pick Barkevious Mingo, 30, who started his career with the Cleveland Browns but has since bounced around the league, having played for five other teams, most recently the Chicago Bears.
• Falcons Signing Ex-Panthers, Seahawks Running Back: Report
• Saints Forfeit 2022 Draft Pick, Receive Heavy Fine
• Lions Signing Falcons Edge Rusher: Report