Nelson is considered to be the team’s top option to re-sign after he led the Bengals in interceptions last year with four. After being acquired in a trade from Jacksonville during the final round of roster cuts in 2010, Nelson has flourished in Mike Zimmer’s scheme and had his most consistent season as a pro. Besides the interceptions, Nelson also had two sacks and two forced fumbles.
After Washington’s LaRon Landry, Nelson is ranked by many to be the best available free agent in a market that was weakened with three of the top four overall safeties getting the franchise tag.
With a secondary that has three free agents who played significant roles last year and with cornerback Leon Hall working his way back from an Achilles injury, most would consider that area of the defense to be a concern, but head coach Marvin Lewis talked about some of the young safeties who could have a role if Nelson departed.
“We would like to have Reggie back but we’ll see. We’re prepared to go either way,” Lewis said during the NFL Scouting Combine last month. “We had a taste of Taylor Mays and we were impressed with what we saw. We drafted Robert Sands and Jeromy Miles got a chance of having a little bit of a role. We feel pretty good about where we are.”