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Age appears to be working against Reggie Nelson

Arizona Cardinals v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

The best defensive player still available on our Free Agent Hot 100 is safety Reggie Nelson, who started all 16 games for the Bengals last season and had eight interceptions. But the numbers 16 and 8 aren’t the most relevant numbers when assessing Nelson.

Instead, the most relevant number is 32, his age. That appears to be the reason Nelson hasn’t yet found an NFL home.

Although Nelson played very well last season, NFL teams simply don’t like to spend a lot of money on players in their 30s at any position other than quarterback. It appears that the Bengals want to get younger at the position, and it also appears that Minnesota — where Nelson knows the defense run by coach Mike Zimmer — is uninterested.

Maybe NFL teams should be more open to the possibility that a player can contribute to the secondary past the age of 30. Charles Woodson played well for the Raiders last year at age 39. But age seems to be the reason Nelson hasn’t yet found his next NFL home.

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61 Responses to “Age appears to be working against Reggie Nelson”
  1. gmoney52 says: Mar 15, 2016 11:57 AM

    Reggie, let’s get Reggie! He showed he can still play, 32 is still young for a safety (see Woodson).

  2. nhpats says: Mar 15, 2016 11:58 AM

    The Pats should give him a look. If he is willing to accept low dollars then he could add some depth.

  3. jm91rs says: Mar 15, 2016 12:00 PM

    I’m a little surprised that he’s unsigned. A first round bust turned solid starter, my guess is that the more important number is the amount of money Reggie Nelson thinks he’s worth versus what teams will pay him. I’m sure Cincinnati would take him back at a reduced price.

  4. bigjdve says: Mar 15, 2016 12:00 PM

    While Nelson has decent skills and is younger, he still isn’t in the same class as Woodson.

    He might also want to contemplate lower his expectations for a salary.

    I would suggest talking to some teams that have expressed some interest and work out a smaller base salary, moderate signing bonus, and a heavily incentive based contract for a year or 2.

    If he would consider that, he would probably be on a team already.

  5. ajgreenhof says: Mar 15, 2016 12:01 PM

    I still want him back in Cincy. Best safety we’ve had in years.

  6. johnnybuc says: Mar 15, 2016 12:03 PM

    Not sure why the Bucs signed a 33 year old Brent Grimes at cornerback, yet won’t talk to a 32 year old Reggie Nelson at safety.

  7. floriosnuts says: Mar 15, 2016 12:05 PM

    Good think age discrimination is illegal in what will soon be Trump’s America.

  8. tylereifertisunstoppable says: Mar 15, 2016 12:06 PM

    Reggie – please take the two year offer Cincy made you, and come win a ring! You’ll earn every penny of the deal you sign, and if you’re still playing well, they’ll likely extend you. Obviously no one else has offered much better of a deal. People can say what they want about the Bengals, but the pretty much offer people what they are worth.

  9. Wisconsin's Favorite Son Jeffrey Be Dahmed says: Mar 15, 2016 12:07 PM

    What is this ‘free agency’ thing? Ted? Can you explain? I guess it’s where your players leave.

  10. rabidbillsfan says: Mar 15, 2016 12:12 PM

    Or compensation, or term, or teams he’s not interested in are calling, or because it’s Tuesday… See, I can play this game too.

  11. jmb82 says: Mar 15, 2016 12:14 PM

    If Weddle can find someone to over pay him in the twilight of his career, Nelson surely can too.

  12. lukedunphysscienceproject says: Mar 15, 2016 12:15 PM

    Is anyone running an NFL team capable of an original thought?

    For a group of guys who want everyone to think they’re geniuses, they sure do lean on “conventional wisdom” alot.

    Can’t invest in a guy who played great in 2015 and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down because he’s over 30. Nope. Can’t do it. Safer to follow the conventional wisdom and escape criticism than to take a small risk and potentially wind up with 2-3 years of a great safety.

    Of course, it’s possible that his contract demands are out of whack, but the article doesn’t mention anything about that, so I am assuming it’s his age.

  13. oregonraider says: Mar 15, 2016 12:29 PM

    floriosnuts says:
    Mar 15, 2016 12:05 PM

    Good think age discrimination

    Yep. You’re one of Trumps ” I love the uneducated” voters alright.

  14. chaunce922 says: Mar 15, 2016 12:37 PM

    Now that Weddle is off the market i expect my Raiders to lock him up quick. We need a stop gap guy who can do alittle bit of everything.

  15. In Teddy We Trust says: Mar 15, 2016 12:44 PM

    Age isn’t the reason the Vikings didn’t go after him. They just signed safety Michael Griffin, who is 31. They started 37-year-old Terrance Newman at cornerback last year and are planning to bring him back this year. Zimmer knows Nelson well, so if he isn’t interested in him, he must have a good reason other than age.

  16. mongo3401 says: Mar 15, 2016 12:44 PM

    Teams have to start to realize 30 is not reason to toss a player by the roadside anymore. Most players train year round now. At least the better ones do. I know players in their mid 20s that can not keep up with some 30 plus year olds. It’s a new time in athletes keeping themselves fit. It’s easy for a team to find out who is and who is not taking care of themselves. As one poster noted, Brent Grimes was snatched up a few days after he was cut. Another team chose to invest in a 32 year old pro bowler. It’s a new day. Some of these young kids coming out of college do crazy training for the combine the. Just shut it down once they get paid. I would take a proven bet a yeah at any age

  17. jag1959 says: Mar 15, 2016 12:49 PM

    Grimes is 32 and his play has fallen off but he wasn’t on the street long. Weddle is 31 and got his. The terms Nelson is seeking are a far more likely impediment

  18. bettis3636 says: Mar 15, 2016 12:49 PM

    Im a Steeler fan and i give this man his respect… hes Big Ben’s kryptonite!!!

  19. kolbydoerge says: Mar 15, 2016 12:54 PM

    Bye Bye Kam and your 2015 drama. Seahawks at $2 Mill and boom….LOB is back!

  20. blowfishes says: Mar 15, 2016 12:58 PM

    Vikings were looking for a stop gap at strong safety. They’re either going to draft one in the early rounds this year, or believe in one of their younger guys maturing.

    Zimmer knows Nelson well, but our defensive backs coach – Jerry Gray – knows Griffin equally well. Being able to get Griffin on a one year deal probably sealed it for the Vikings.

  21. peytonwantsaflag says: Mar 15, 2016 1:00 PM

    “The Pats should give him a look. If he is willing to accept low dollars then he could add some depth.”
    ———————————
    The Bengals aren’t lowballing him – he’ll stay with the Bengals unless he gets high dollar.

  22. steelerben says: Mar 15, 2016 1:05 PM

    Teams shy away from players over 30 not because they are concerned with how they will play THIS season, but instead on how they will play three years into the deal. One also has to assume that Nelson is trying to get paid for last season’s numbers like a player five years younger would be. Not everyone has the genetics of Charles Woodson or Jerry Rice, and father time remains undefeated.

    If Nelson was looking for a short term deal for a low end salary his phone would be ringing off the hook. If Nelson is looking for five years and above average money, he’s going to be waiting a long time for it.

  23. Bl00dwerK says: Mar 15, 2016 1:08 PM

    It could be that several teams are interested and he’s weighing his options…

  24. hendawg21 says: Mar 15, 2016 1:09 PM

    The money in sports is simply crazy, my previous profession from which I retired, the most I made a year was less than $40,000.00, yes I also had room and board and medical coverage, however, you were only one bullet or IED away from meeting your maker…if my current employer would give me half of one of these guys signing bonus, I could live really comfortable the rest of my life.

  25. truthdispensary says: Mar 15, 2016 1:13 PM

    He’s probably hedging his 2016 results into a very large Guarantee with a 3-5 year deal that results in a large cap cost & dead money in the later stages of the contract.

    Psycho Cincy players…self destruction is their mantra.

  26. ipdaily69 says: Mar 15, 2016 1:18 PM

    The stench that is the Bengals will always be attached to their players…..the league hates that smell.

  27. arwiv says: Mar 15, 2016 1:21 PM

    The Giants are in desperate need of a free safety. I thought Illoka would have been perfect but Nelson would be a decent plan B for 2 years. I have to believe that him not being signed yet has more to do with his demands than his age.

  28. nhpats says: Mar 15, 2016 1:23 PM

    peytonwantsaflag says:
    Mar 15, 2016 1:00 PM
    “The Pats should give him a look. If he is willing to accept low dollars then he could add some depth.”
    ———————————
    The Bengals aren’t lowballing him – he’ll stay with the Bengals unless he gets high dollar.

    ————————-

    Maybe he would rather play on a team that has a chance of winning even a single playoff game. Let’s be honest, he has been around long enough to know that won’t happen with the Bengals

  29. wtfru2 says: Mar 15, 2016 1:29 PM

    C’mon Zimmer, get him at the right price for a couple of years and let Harrison Smith run free!

  30. hrmlss says: Mar 15, 2016 1:34 PM

    Woodson is a 1st Ballot HOF’er. Nelson is, well, Nelson.

  31. youdrivemenutseagles says: Mar 15, 2016 1:47 PM

    That’s too bad. If he were 29 and came off a season like that, he’d already have a home.

  32. radrntn says: Mar 15, 2016 1:52 PM

    say what you want…..Safety is a position where you can play when your older, and Reggie showed he can play it at a high level…..Also was the second rated Safet available behind Eric Berry according to both BSPN, and PFF.
    A matter of fact PFF had him rated the #9 overall safety in the entire NFL.

    I agree Go Raiders! Go Reggie! (and get Reggie N)

  33. tigershark0052 says: Mar 15, 2016 1:58 PM

    He’ll sign a one year offer, eventually.

  34. tvguy22 says: Mar 15, 2016 1:59 PM

    Youth is wasted on the young.

  35. 6thsense10 says: Mar 15, 2016 2:00 PM

    johnnybuc says:
    Mar 15, 2016 12:03 PM
    Not sure why the Bucs signed a 33 year old Brent Grimes at cornerback, yet won’t talk to a 32 year old Reggie Nelson at safety.
    ———-
    Cornerback is a premium position while safety is not. So teams are more willing to overlook things like age for a decent one.

  36. hippieway says: Mar 15, 2016 2:04 PM

    This article is probably pure speculation, sad if true because it doesn’t appear his abilities have noticeably diminish. The numbers that will be an issue, more than likely be due to compensation.

  37. vtsquirm says: Mar 15, 2016 2:13 PM

    The Redskins want him, they just don’t want to pay top $$ for a 32 year old safety. $2-3 million a year, sure.

  38. montrealraider says: Mar 15, 2016 2:22 PM

    Cmon Reggie do it. The Raiders are as thin as a paper sheet right now at safety.

  39. robmix8 says: Mar 15, 2016 2:27 PM

    come to dallas

  40. purpleguy says: Mar 15, 2016 2:30 PM

    Thought for sure Zimmer would go after him, as the Vikes were looking for a free safety so Smith could play closer to the line, and was surprised when they signed Griffin who is only 18 months younger. He seems like a strong player — must have had pretty high contract demands.

  41. dtevener says: Mar 15, 2016 2:34 PM

    Don’t forget he got hurt in the last game. That could be playing into it too.

  42. 3wordanswers says: Mar 15, 2016 2:34 PM

    Watch the film.

    All you guys talking about Nelson should do what NFL teams do; watch the film.

    Yes; Nelson had 8 INT’s, but most of those were fly-balls, and Reggie played on a #2 ranked CIN defense.

    He also gave up several long runs where he wanted the highlight big-hit instead of a simple tackle.

    Nelson wants too much money; but most NFL teams aren’t fooled that easy.

    Watch the film…….

  43. flipola says: Mar 15, 2016 2:44 PM

    Reggie Nelson is no Charles Woodson, though.

  44. lingsun54 says: Mar 15, 2016 2:47 PM

    It’s really a waste of time to talk about how Charles Woodson played at his age. Very few players are still in the league at 39. It’s like telling a team to take a QB in the 6th round because the Patriots found Tom Brady that way. Players can have a huge drop off in play as they age. I’m sure if Nelson wanted a one or two year deal he could have one.

  45. keem513 says: Mar 15, 2016 2:48 PM

    So Why did Eric Weddle receive multiple offers and there is only a one year difference in age between them

  46. nookers says: Mar 15, 2016 2:53 PM

    BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO

  47. pittsburghdamned says: Mar 15, 2016 3:12 PM

    Has he lost a step diving at players’ knees?

    Shame.

  48. babyteal1 says: Mar 15, 2016 3:13 PM

    Get him REDSKINS!!!!

  49. angrylionsfan says: Mar 15, 2016 3:27 PM

    I hope Quinn is looking at him in Detroit. Unless he’s asking a ridiculous salary he would be a good addition to the Lions for 2-3 years.

  50. samoanjungle says: Mar 15, 2016 3:28 PM

    I think the real number keeping him from getting signe is the amount he is likely asking for after getting 8 INTs. Teams prob think that is a fluke and aren’t going to bring out the bags o cash

  51. crownofthehelmet says: Mar 15, 2016 4:43 PM

    He’ll be a Raven by the end of the week, their strategy is to bring in old has-beens.

  52. est285 says: Mar 15, 2016 5:42 PM

    ipdaily69 says:
    Mar 15, 2016 1:18 PM
    The stench that is the Bengals will always be attached to their players…..the league hates that smell.

    You sir should stop living in 2006 and realize it is 2016. For the past 6-7 years, the Bengals draft and develop players arguably better than any team in the league.

  53. jdeezman says: Mar 15, 2016 6:54 PM

    I hope the Bengals re-sign him so he can dive at more stealers knees.

  54. getakluwe says: Mar 15, 2016 8:00 PM

    Age is working against all of us…then it’s over.

  55. ncbengalmike says: Mar 15, 2016 8:24 PM

    jm91rs says:
    Mar 15, 2016 12:00 PM
    I’m a little surprised that he’s unsigned. A first round bust turned solid starter, my guess is that the more important number is the amount of money Reggie Nelson thinks he’s worth versus what teams will pay him. I’m sure Cincinnati would take him back at a reduced price.
    _______________
    How can a first round bust be a solid starter. I would fact check here he played for a crap team and then went to a good team.
    The bust led the NFL in INT’s.
    Way to Sport Center your opinion

  56. stevincinci says: Mar 15, 2016 8:41 PM

    He’ll be back a Bengal. At their price.

  57. stevincinci says: Mar 15, 2016 8:42 PM

    getakluwe says:
    Mar 15, 2016 8:00 PM
    Age is working against all of us…then it’s over.

    Einstein! Where have you been?

  58. stevincinci says: Mar 15, 2016 8:46 PM

    angrylionsfan says:
    Mar 15, 2016 3:27 PM
    I hope Quinn is looking at him in Detroit. Unless he’s asking a ridiculous salary he would be a good addition to the Lions for 2-3 years.

    Yes he would!

  59. tomhare13 says: Mar 15, 2016 11:20 PM

    Come on over to the BIG D! u can take wilcox’s job plz!

  60. mackenziejc says: Mar 16, 2016 3:28 PM

    I’m starting to think his accused connection to a certain shooting incident allegedly performed be a murderer that was also an excellent tight end for the Patriots is playing a role in free agency

  61. whodeylifer says: Mar 16, 2016 3:47 PM

    We need to get him back. Anyone that is a thorn in the side of pittsburg, is a friend of mine.

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