Bengals make move to improve run D
Hoping to add some muscle to a run defense that statistically ranked No. 26 in the league in 2004, the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday night reached a three-year contract accord with unrestricted free agent lineman Bryan Robinson, ESPN.com has confirmed.
The three-year contract is worth $6 million and includes a $1.7 million signing bonus.
The versatile Robinson, who has started at both end and tackle during his eight-year NFL career, should add depth, experience and stability to a Bengals defensive front in need of all three elements. The Denver Broncos had also been in pursuit of Robinson, who played for the Miami Dolphins in 2004, after spending most of his career with the Chicago Bears.
Cincinnati has been attempting for two years to add a veteran defensive tackle. The need was exacerbated this year by the fact that former starter Tony Williams is an unrestricted free agent whom the Bengals likely will not re-sign, and that the Cincinnati depth chart at the position is young and inexperienced beyond veteran John Thornton.
Robinson, 30, played in all 16 games for the Dolphins in 2004 and started 13, notching 69 tackles, including 43 solo stops. He signed with Miami last summer after the Bears released him for salary cap reasons.
Earlier in his career, Robinson played primarily at left end, largely because of his ability to aggressively play the run. Never particularly effective as a pass rusher, Robinson was a valuable defender because of his toughness in anchoring the strong side of the defense.
In his final two seasons with the Bears, he moved inside to the tackle spot, and that is where he logged most of his playing time in Miami, as well. It is believed the Bengals will use him at tackle, probably as a rotational player.
The former Fresno State standout entered the league with the St. Louis Rams in 1997 as an undrafted college free agent. Despite playing in 11 games as a rookie, he was cut in 1998 and claimed on waivers by Chicago, where he spent six years before his release.
He has totaled 305 tackles and 17 ½ sacks in his career, while appearing in 116 games.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here .
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