Report: Bengals exercise 2016 options on Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler contracts
The Bengals had a pair of first-round picks in 2012 and they apparently like the players they selected enough to make a move to ensure they’ll return to Cincinnati for a fifth season.
Albert Breer of NFL Media reports that the team has exercised their options on the contracts of cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and guard Kevin Zeitler for the 2016 season. Both options are guaranteed against injury only and the Bengals could opt to withdraw the options before the start of the new league year.
Kirkpatrick, the 17th pick in the draft, struggled with injuries as a rookie and has played mostly in sub packages in Cincinnati’s deep secondary the last two years. Terence Newman is gone this year, though, and Kirkpatrick has designs on bigger things after six interceptions over the last two seasons.
“I want to be the best. I don’t want to just be a starting corner. I want to be the best. I want to be the No. 1 corner in the league and that’s what I thrive,” Kirkpatrick said, via the team’s website.
Zeitler, who went 27th overall, has been a starter since arriving in Cincinnati and his salary will be just over $8 million under the terms of the option. Kirkpatrick will come in around $7.5 million and the team is reportedly interested in longer deals with both players.