Bengals sign Trae Waynes: Grade, reactions and more

The Cincinnati Bengals have ponied up to get Trae Waynes, but how does the move look overall?

The Minnesota Vikings drafted Trae Waynes 11th overall in the 2015 draft, with the idea of forming one of the top cornerback duos in the league with he and Xavier Rhodes. That never quite materialized, even with Rhodes at his peak and certainly not as he fell off the last couple years.

Waynes has not become a star, but he has been solid and he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 46 cornerback last year. More interceptions would be nice, but Waynes can play both outside and in the slot and he was set to cash in solidly as a free agent. A return to the Vikings, who have limited cap space, seemed unlikely even after Rhodes was cut last week.

The Cincinnati Bengals signed defensive tackle D.J. Reader to a four-year, $53 million deal on Tuesday, and they followed by signing Waynes.

Contract Details

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported Cincinnati signing Waynes. The deal is worth $42 million over three years, with $20 million due in the first year. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network has added Waynes will make $31 million in the first two years of the deal.

Waynes will now be among the 10 highest paid corners in the league.

National Reaction

Making a merely serviceable cornerback the sixth-highest paid player at the position is quite aggressive, and it looks like an overreaction by the Bengals to losing Darqueze Dennard. Cincinnati is also generally loath to spending money in free agency, and for some reason they chose to pony up for Waynes.

Next: 2020 NFL Free Agency Tracker

Moving aggressively to fill a need is a good idea in a broad sense, and the Bengals did that by signing Waynes. Front loading the deal to a degree was probably a good idea too, but a big overall overpay drops the grade here.

Grade: D+


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