- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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So, you're an out-of-work former first-round pick and you're wondering where you'll end up. I see a flight to Cincinnati in your future.
Newman becomes the sixth former first-round pick signed by the Bengals in free agency this year, joining cornerbacks Adam Jones and Jason Allen, safety Reggie Nelson, defensive lineman Jamaal Anderson and defensive end Derrick Harvey.
Given that the Bengals have two first-round picks in this year's draft (Nos. 17 and 21), they could go into the season with 15 of them on their 53-man roster. That's 28 percent of the team. Cincinnati could trim that number down if the team ends up trading linebacker Keith Rivers to the New York Giants.
Having a lot of first-round talent doesn't mean a team will end up in first place. According to the Bengals' official website, the Raiders ended the 2011 season with 14 first-round picks on their roster and finished with an 8-8 record.
This is another move by the Bengals that provides insurance going into the draft. The cornerback position was an area of concern because Leon Hall is coming off a season-ending Achilles injury and Nate Clements is entering his 12th season. If Hall isn't ready to start the season or Clements gets injured, the Bengals can plug in an experienced defender like Adam Jones into the starting lineup and still have Allen or Newman to play nickelback.
Newman, who will turn 34 when the season begins, was the fifth overall pick of the 2003 draft and last went to the Pro Bowl in 2009. He was cut by the Cowboys primarily because of his high salary-cap number ($8 million), but he was picked on more frequently by quarterbacks last season.
Still, he's made 20 interceptions over the past five seasons and he is familiar with defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's system from their days together in Dallas.