Age appears to be working against Reggie Nelson

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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.

61 responses to “Age appears to be working against Reggie Nelson

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. “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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

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

  17. 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)

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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…….

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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

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

  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.

    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.

  27. 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

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

    Einstein! Where have you been?

  29. 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!

  30. 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

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