Bengals will reportedly look closely at safety in free agency

The Cincinnati Bengals, as expected, will put in some work at the safety position this offseason.

Even if the defense hadn’t paced the league in explosive plays permitted last year, the team continues to struggle to fill all the gaps left by losing Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell in the same offseason.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Kelsey Conway, the Bengals will keep all options open while looking at the open market:

League sources tell The Enquirer the Bengals are checking in and have shown interest in the safety market ahead of free agency. This makes sense given the uncertainty of where Hill fits in Cincinnati’s defense. It seems highly likely the Bengals will address the safety position with a veteran. Jordan Battle is expected to remain the Bengals’ starting strong safety after a solid first season with the club. Free safety is where Cincinnati has a hole.

Hill’s position being fluid isn’t much of a shock given defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo’s affinity for three-safety sets and moving guys across formations.

While Hill struggled (compared to the All-Pro he was supposed to help replace), fellow rookie Jordan Battle had to emerge on short notice after free-agent signing Nick Scott flopped and depth piece Tycen Anderson couldn’t stay healthy.

Another veteran safety is the obvious move from here, with the Hill-Battle duo very much going into next season as starters and/or rotational pieces, too.

But expected growing pains for a young, revamped secondary, a lack of pass-rush up front and a complementary offense that struggled was a brutal combination that leaves the Bengals looking for help at the position.

Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire