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ESPN, PFF Give Geno Stone Signing 'A+' Grade: 'Steal of The Free Agent Class so Far'

Cincinnati plucked him from a division rival.

CINCINNATI — ESPN's Matt Miller loves the Bengals signing of Geno Stone as the newest member of the secondary. Stone inked a two-year, $15 million deal on Monday.

He was second in the NFL with seven interceptions last season. Miller gave it an "A+" grade. It's the only A+ moniker for any outside free agent signing as of this writing.

"This is the steal of the free agent class so far," Miller declared. "Stone will be tied for the 11th-highest-paid safety in the game. Stone, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2020 draft, gets rewarded after four years of league minimum pay. The 24-year-old has eight career interceptions ... but notched seven in 2023 alone, playing in new defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald's scheme.

"Now in Cincinnati, Stone will line up at free safety in a young secondary. To steal Stone from a division rival only adds to the high grade for the value of the Bengals being able to bring him in. In a weak safety draft class -- we might not see one drafted in the first two rounds -- the Bengals check off their defense's biggest need with a savvy signing of an ascending player.

PFF's Brad Spielberger loved the signing as well. He gave the Bengals an A+ for fit/need and an A- for value.

"After a few strong deals for safeties came in to start the day, this is a strong signing for Cincinnati," Spielberger wrote. "Stone fits well alongside Jordan Battle and Dax Hill in potential three-safety looks. The Bengals gave up one of the highest explosive pass play rates in the NFL in 2023, and Stone has the range and ball skills to turn some of those chunk gains into takeaways."

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