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Manny Lawson says he’s returning to Bengals


Outside linebacker Manny Lawson got nibbles from several different teams during free agency, but it looks like he decided there’s no place like Cincinnati.

Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Lawson is telling members of the Bengals that he has agreed to terms on a deal that will keep him in a striped helmet for the 2012 season. Coach Marvin Lewis said over the weekend that the team hoped to bring Lawson back and there were other indications that things were moving in this direction. Now it seems the deal is done.

Lawson’s skill set is fairly well known after six seasons in the league. He gives you everything you want from an outside linebacker outside of pass rush, making him a valuable part of the defense if not a particularly well-paid one. The Bengals certainly have use for his coverage and run stopping abilities which makes this deal a smart one for them.

It will look even smarter if the team is able to replace the 10.5 sacks they lost with the departures of Frostee Rucker and Jonathan Fanene. That need is why the Bengals were in the hunt for Kamerion Wimbley, but there’s no one else like that on the market right now and no one else that offers the other skills they’ll get from Lawson.