- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Free agency officially begins March 12, so the AFC North blog is counting down the 20 best free agents (unrestricted and restricted) from the teams in the division. Let's continue with No. 14 ...
Status: Unrestricted free agent
The good: Newman had a surprisingly solid season after being considered done when released by the Cowboys. Starting 15 games for Cincinnati, he was equally good against the run and the pass. His 14 passes defensed led the Bengals in the regular season, and his 75 tackles ranked fifth.
The bad: Veterans seem to bounce back in their first season with a new team because they're motivated to prove their former team wrong. The challenge is maintaining that level of productivity in the second season. Newman also turns 35 just before the season begins.
The bottom line: Newman was a good fit in Cincinnati, reuniting with defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. He earned the right to stick with the Bengals, and he is a dependable safety net if Dre Kirkpatrick struggles with injuries again. Because of Newman's age, the Bengals will likely offer him another one-year deal.