Source: Bengals, Leon Hall to talk deal

Updated: August 17, 2011, 10:41 AM ET
By James Walker | ESPN.com

The Cincinnati Bengals will soon begin contract negotiations with starting cornerback Leon Hall, a source familiar with the situation told ESPN.com. Hall is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2012.

The Bengals are well under the salary cap and have room to work out long-term extensions. Cincinnati is rebuilding after quarterback Carson Palmer's retirement and trading Pro Bowl receiver Chad Ochocinco to the New England Patriots. Both moves saved the Bengals more than $17 million this season.

Hall, 26, is Cincinnati's No. 1 corner now that former Bengals teammate Johnathan Joseph signed with the Houston Texans in free agency. The Bengals replaced Joseph with 31-year-old Nate Clements, who was recently released by the San Francisco 49ers.

Hall was drafted in the first round by Cincinnati in 2007. He has 18 interceptions in four seasons. Hall also is one of Cincinnati's most durable players. He's played in 64 consecutive games, which includes 58 starts.

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter at espnafc_north

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ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter