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Bengals Re-Sign Brandon Thompson

Injured defensive tackle returns to the fold after flirting with the Seahawks.

The Bengals today re-signed backup defensive tackle Brandon Thompson, who ended the 2015 schedule on injured reserve with a torn right ACL suffered in the regular-season finale. The announcement was made by Thompson's agency, Element Sports Group. The first-time unrestricted free agent reportedly signed a one-year contract.

Thompson is back in Cincinnati after visiting the Seattle Seahawks. The third-round draft choice from 2012 has been a Bengal for four years. He played in nine games last season, totaling eight tackles and a half-sack on 184 snaps while rotating on and off the roster with fellow tackle Pat Sims.

Thompson (6-2, 305) now has the opportunity to get healthy in a familiar environment as he battles his way back to roster worthiness, with a chance to make a return to next year's free-agent market with potentially greater value. He's expected to miss OTAs and training camp with the likelihood of beginning the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Speculation has put his return sometime after the first six games.

Thompson's value lies in his ability to to stop the run. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Bengals allowed 3.1 yards per carry with Thompson on the field in 2014. When he wasn't on the field, the number jumped to 4.6 yards. It's based on a relatively small sample size of 259 snaps, but there's little doubt Thompson can be a difference maker against the run when healthy.

He's a fringe player on passing downs with three career sacks. Even at Clemson, he struggled to create penetration while totaling 4.5 sacks in 38 starts. He has 7.5 sacks in his last 67 college and pro games. He was projected as a gap shooter coming out of college, but he's mainly filled the gaps on the Bengals' roster. Their hope is that he's a late bloomer. Thompson turns 27 on Oct. 19. He hasn't seen a lot of field time and enters his fifth NFL season with a "younger" body than your average 27-year-old NFL defender.

Even so, he's managed just seven injury-induced starts in the NFL. They came in 2013 when he posted career-highs with 16 games played, 23 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one pass defensed following the loss of Geno Atkins to a season-ending knee injury.

Thompson himself has been injury-plagued while getting into 39 of a possible 64 Bengals games, with 53 career tackles. He had more than one tackle in just two games in 2015. He was placed on the Reserved/Injured list Jan. 6 after suffering the knee injury against the Baltimore Ravens Jan. 3.

He played in 11 games in 2014, missing Games 3-7 with a knee injury.

He held the starting defensive tackle job opposite Domata Peko in 2013 for the last seven regular-season games and the Wild Card playoff as Atkins' replacement. But he couldn't supplant the aging Peko nor the average Pat Sims when Atkins returned from injury and Sims returned to the team via free-agency.


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