“It's almost a sigh of relief that things are done and I can continue to go out and play football,” Wilson said, via a Sunday tweet from The Athletic Senior Writer Paul Dehner Jr.
Wilson, a former third-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, signed a four-year extension with the Bengals worth up to $37.25 million on Friday, according to NFL Network National Insider Ian Rapoport. Wilson had spent the last three seasons in Cincinnati. He played in 40 games and starting in 30 as he racked up 256 combined tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits, 11 pass deflections and seven interceptions over his blossoming NFL career.
Cincinnati's defense allowed a total of 3,665 passing yards and 1,706 rushing yards in 2022, putting them at 16th and fifth in the NFL, respectively, according to NFL.com. Their 74.4 Pro Football Focus defensive rating put them on par with the Washington Commanders at about 11th place in the league.
Wilson will rejoin a Bengals defense featuring linebacker Germaine Pratt, defensive end Sam Hubbard and defensive end Trey Hendrickson. Wilson led Cincinnati with 123 total tackles in 2022, taking spots over Pratt and the safety duo of Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates III. Bell signed with the Carolina Panthers in March, while Bates headed to the Atlanta Falcons after inking a four-year, $64 million contract the same month.
The Bengals re-signed Pratt to a three-year, $21 million contract to stay in Cincinnati in March.
“We're one play away, so why wouldn't you want to stay? We're close. It was a fact. I want to win,” Pratt said, via Bengals.com Senior Writer Geoff Hobson. “I'm big on loyalty. They gave me an opportunity when I got in the league, so why would I try to leave for a team that wasn't as successful for more money? I didn't feel right about that.”