Valued for his productivity, instincts, versatility and character, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey has built a strong reputation in NFL circles.
Now that Rey, 28, is a pending unrestricted free agent, the Bengals are expected to make a major push to retain the team captain with a new deal. Nothing is imminent, though.
The structure for a potential Rey deal with the Bengals could closely mirror the three-year, $15 million contract for linebacker Rey Maualuga that included $4.5 million guaranteed.
If Rey doesn’t re-sign with the Bengals, he won’t lack for suitors and connections. Former Bengals assistants coaches now with other teams include Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson, Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden, Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant Jay Hayes and Miami Dolphins assistant coaches Vance Joseph and Matt Burke.
Rey has lined up at outside linebacker, inside linebacker and nickel and is a four-down player, also excelling on special teams. His two-year, $4.2 million contract that included $1 million guaranteed is expiring.
Rey led the Bengals in tackles each of the past two seasons, including 98 tackles, one sack and an interception last season as he appeared in every game and started half of the games. In 2014, Rey recorded a career-high 121 tackles. In 2013, Rey had a career-high four sacks and two interceptions. During the past two seasons, Rey has 219 tackles with Maualuga recording 134 tackles.
The 6-foot, 255-pound former undrafted free agent from Duke ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds and had a 38-inch vertical leap at his campus Pro Day workout in 2010.
Underrated for years, Rey provides a lot of value on defense, special teams and character in the locker room.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.