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Top free agent safety Vonn Bell lands with the Carolina Panthers

It was safe to assume that Cincinnati Bengals star safety Vonn Bell would land himself a nice little contract during NFL free agency.

We knew it wouldn’t be with his current team. Cincinnati has to worry about signing quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase to what will likely be historic contract extensions. That made the likes of Bell and fellow safety Jessie Bates expendable.

Well, Bell is the first of the pair to go. According to multiple media reports, the veteran safety has landed with the Carolina Panthers.

This is yet another big move for a Panthers team that just pulled off a blockbuster trade for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. It’s the clearest example yet that general manager Scott Fitterer is looking to contend in the pedestrian NFC South next season.

The 28-year-old Bell has been an extremely underrated player since the New Orleans Saints made him a second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

  • Vonn Bell stats (2022): 77 tackles, 8 passes defended, 4 INT, 64.0 QB rating allowed

The Ohio State product can play both safety spots. But he’s more than likely going to line up at free safety in Carolina. Youngster Jeremy Chinn can play all over the defensive backfield. However, his best position is closer to the line of scrimmage.

Related: Grading the Von Bell signing

New Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero enjoys using his safeties a certain way. That was clear with how Justin Simmons played during Evero’s time with the Denver Broncos. He likes positional flexibility in the defensive backfield. Bell has provided that in stints with both the Saints and Bengals throughout his NFL career.

Vonn Bell will head to Carolina after registering 35 passes defended, 15 forced fumbles and six sacks throughout his seven-year career.

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