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Darqueze Dennard not worrying about next contract yet

Detroit Lions v Cincinnati Bengals

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 24: Marvin Jones #11 of the Detroit Lions makes a catch defended by Darqueze Dennard #21 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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Cornerback Darqueze Dennard called it a confidence boost when the Bengals picked up the option on his contract for the 2018 season more than a year ago, but other reactions weren’t uniformly positive.

Dennard missed nine games and made four starts during his first three seasons in Cincinnati and acknowledges that people might ask why because “I haven’t done anything, I’ve been hurt.” Dennard played all 16 games last season, though, and set career highs for tackles, interceptions and sacks while playing the most snaps of any cornerback on the team.

That set a nice foundation for the 2018 season and for Dennard’s chances of landing a big deal for 2019, but the 2014 first-round pick says his focus is on his play rather than his next deal.

“It’s not a thought at all,” Dennard said, via Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I’m just focused on football and trying to be the best Darqueze Dennard I can be, be the best football player I can be and help the team win. I mean, I’m not too much worried about contracts. That will figure itself out.”

The Bengals signed Dre Kirkpatrick to a long-term deal in 2017 and William Jackson is coming off a strong sophomore season, so the team will have to decide how much they’re willing to invest at the position before making any bid to keep Dennard in town. If they don’t, another season like last year should leave Dennard with other interested suitors.