Broncos Named Potential Landing Spot for Valuable Bengals Free Agent

Vonn Bell

Getty Cincinnati Bengals starting safety Vonn Bell.

The Denver Broncos have been deemed a potential fit for Cinncinati Bengals starting safety Vonn Bell, this according to’s Nick Shook, who sees the possibility of Denver agreeing to a value deal with the 28-year-old in free agency if Cincinnati isn’t able to re-sign the seven-year veteran.

“Bell is precisely the type of safety who produces at a high enough level to draw a quality contract that won’t be too expensive but likely worth it,” Shook wrote in a 2023 NFL Free Agency matchmaking roundup on March 2. “He’d go from playing alongside one excellent safety in Jessie Bates to another in Justin Simmons.”

Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin told The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. (subscription required) that it was unlikely both Bell and Bates would stick in Cincinnati long-term.

“Is it realistic?” he asked when he was specifically questioned about retaining the safety duo. “Probably not, but is it important? Yes. We aren’t going to freeze out options with any of them. It will be dependent on other deals we are able to get done as the offseason goes on and what the market is for those guys. Can everybody fit in at the top value that they want? No. Maybe some guys don’t get that value and want to come back, we’ll see.”

The 2016 second-round pick has started 93 of his 109 career games between the Saints and Bengals, including 16 games in each of the last three seasons. Bell has also racked up 636 tackles, 35 pass deflections and 6 career interceptions.

Broncos OL Dalton Risner Also Named Fit for Buffalo Bills

In the same piece, Shook examined the possibility of free agent Broncos guard Dalton Risner joining the Buffalo Bills in an effort to preserve Buffalo’s offensive line in front of Josh Allen in the years to come.

“The Bills need to massage their cap situation in a pretty big way, but if they can clear ample space, Risner should be among their top targets because of the current state of their offensive line,” Shook wrote.

“A number of Bills linemen are slated for free agency, including starting guard Rodger Saffold, and if the Bills are going to continue to operate an offense that depends heavily on the abilities of Josh Allen — especially through the air — they’ll need to ensure their offensive line doesn’t devolve in the years ahead.”

Shook sees Risner’s salary reaching eight figures this offseason. “Risner’s market value should fall somewhere near the $10 million-per-year range, which is somewhat affordable, provided the Bills clear some space before free agency begins.”

Juan Thornhill Floated as Bengals Option if Broncos Sign Vonn Bell

In the event the Broncos (or another team) signs Bell, Shook sees Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl champion Juan Thornhill as a viable replacement for the Bengals.

“Cincinnati should first attempt to keep Bell, but if it cannot, the Bengals have cap space to work with, thanks to Joe Burrow’s existing rookie contract,” Shook prefaced his Thornhill suggestion with. “There’s no better time to spend some of it on defense; why not target a rising star from a rival? Thornhill’s production is on par with Bell, which might make such a move seem more lateral than upward, but he’s a year younger and likely won’t cost too much.”

Thornhill reached career highs in tackles (71), interceptions (3), and sacks (1.0) during the 2022 season with the Chiefs.

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