Thoughts on Bengals extending Leon Hall

The Cincinnati Bengals reached a four-year, $39 million contract extension with cornerback Leon Hall, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. The deal will keep Hall in Cincinnati through 2015.

Here are some thoughts on the signing:

  • Losing Johnathan Joseph definitely helped Hall in these negotiations. Last summer the Bengals tried extending Joseph, who was entering the final year of his deal. But the team low-balled the corner and eventually couldn't re-sign him. Joseph bolted to the Houston Texans this summer. This year the Bengals learned their lesson and offered Hall market value. Hall will average nearly $10 million per season.

  • The next step is on Hall. He is now the Bengals' top cornerback with Joseph gone. Hall is certainly being paid like a No. 1 corner and has to prove it on the field. Look for Cincinnati to put Hall on the opponent's best receiver throughout the season to see how Hall handles those duties.

  • Cincinnati will go into the season with the cornerback trio of Hall, Nate Clements and Kelly Jennings. If Jennings learns the defense quickly, it could be a decent group. The Bengals are not counting on Adam Jones (neck) to start the season. But Jones could eventually bring more athleticism and speed to the Bengals' secondary when he gets healthy.