American Football

Broncos free agency target: Vonn Bell


Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

A veteran with ties to Sean Payton, he could be a great fit next to Justin Simmons at the safety position for Denver.

When it comes to the Denver Broncos and free agency, safety doesn’t shoot to the top of the list.

But finding a replacement for Kareem Jackson to play next to Justin Simmons could be a big deal on the backend of the defense.

Given his age, connections to Sean Payton and ability, Vonn Bell is potential target for the Broncos.

Highlighting Bell’s career to date

Bell was a second-round by Paton and the New Orleans Saints in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The 5-foot-11, 215-pound safety will enter his eighth year in the NFL this season. Bell played the first four years of his career with the Saints before signing a three-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020. With the Bengals, Bell became a defensive leader on a team that went to back-to-back AFC Championship Games. He’s been a captain since he set foot in Cincinnati.

In the 2022 season, Bell’s tackles “dipped” from the previous two seasons with 68 but also finished with a career-high four interceptions and eight passes defended.

Why he makes sense for the Broncos

The connection to Payton is obvious, but the way Bell plays could make for a great fit next to Simmons.

As said in a recent piece, “Bell is precisely the type of safety who produces at a high enough level to draw a quality contract that won’t be too expensive but likely worth it.”

Bell has also been a workhorse for Cincinnati since signing in 2020. As this story highlights, He’s played 3,484 of the team’s 3,619 defensive snaps including the postseason. He only missed 13 snaps in 2022 (1,154 of 1,167).

Also add in the experience Bell has of helping take the Bengals to a championship contender and Bell is a veteran with championship experience who can help change the culture in Denver.

The key is the price tag for Bell.

Examining Bell’s free agent market

There’s no doubt the Bengals want to keep their safety tandem of Jesse Bates and Bell. Both have been big reasons why Cincinnati was able to dig out the AFC North basement.

As for the annual contract, Spotrac has Bell in the three-year, $29 million deal range. That would give Davenport an annual salary of $9.7 million.

Based on his experience, leadership and ability, that’s a decent price for a guy who could help replicate what has happened in Cincy with the Broncos.

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