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Bengals make Minter signing official

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis works the sidelines in the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The Bengals on Monday announced they have signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Kevin Minter to a one-year contract.

The monetary figure was not announced, but it is reportedly for $4.5 million.

Minter's signing was first reported on Saturday.

Minter started every game for Arizona the last two seasons and finished second on the team in tackles each year.

Minter (6-0, 246; Louisiana State) is a fifth-year NFL player. He was an Arizona second-round draft choice in 2013. He has played in 61 consecutive games (including postseason) and helped lead the Cardinals to the playoffs in both 2014 and ’15. He has 254 career tackles, with five sacks and 11 passes defensed.

“Kevin is a very instinctive player with a great background,” said Bengals linebackers coach Jim Haslett in a statement. “Smart guy, good guy. Good nose for the ball. He has three-down abilities and will help us in a lot of ways.”

Minter had a career-best 3.5 sacks last season while totaling 95 tackles. He had nine tackles-for-loss and four passes defensed. In 2015, he had a career-best 110 tackles for an Arizona team that finished 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship game. He led the Cardinals in 2015 in postseason tackles-for-loss (four), with 15 total stops.

“The Bengals have a very stout defense, but my goal is to come in and play every down,” Minter said in a statement. “I’m excited to be a part of it. The way the organization embraced me on my visit, it just feels right.”

Minter played inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme in Arizona. The Bengals play a 4-3 scheme and are in the market for a middle linebacker to supplant veteran Ray Maualuga, who was unproductive this past season and saw his playing time decrease significantly.

According to the analytics-based ProFootballFocus.com, Minter was the fifth-highest rated unrestricted free agent linebacker.

It's possible that Minter could also play on the outside and the Bengals could still draft a middle linebacker, and keep in mind his deal is for only one year as well.

In the latest Local12.com MockDraft the team's first-round selection was Alabama middle linebacker Reuben Foster.

The Bengals lost veteran Karlos Dansby to free agency. They still have standout Vontaze Burfict on the outside and veteran utility linebacker Vinny Rey along with second-year outside linebacker Nick Vigil and a handful of unproven players in the mix like Paul Dawson and Marquis Flowers.

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