Updated: April 3, 2014, 6:08 PM ET
Coley Harvey | ESPN.com
CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bengals added to their defensive backfield Thursday by signing free-agent safety Danieal Manning.
The team hasn’t announced how long the deal is for, but a source close to Manning told ESPN.com earlier Thursday that it was expected to be a one-year contract.
With the 31-year-old veteran in the fold, the Bengals have gotten a significant jolt to the safety position.
Manning could enter into a competition for a starting job with George Iloka, although he primarily was brought in to serve as an option off the bench and a mentor to younger safeties like Iloka and Shawn Williams, who were drafted in the past two years.
Manning was cut by the Houston Texans earlier this week after spending the past three seasons with them. In Cincinnati, he’ll join his former defensive backs coach, Vance Joseph, who was hired earlier this offseason as the Bengals’ co-defensive backs coach specializing in safeties. Like Manning, Joseph arrived in Houston in 2011.
A knee injury limited Manning for much of the 2013 season and he appeared in only six games. He had 24 tackles, a sack and a pass breakup.
Manning’s signing appears to be a signal that veteran Chris Crocker will not be coming back to Cincinnati in 2014. An unrestricted free agent himself, Crocker hadn’t been expected to re-sign with the Bengals, and retirement could again be an option. Even though he went into the last two offseasons with intentions of staying away from football, Crocker ended up signing in-season contracts with the Bengals after injuries necessitated an extra body in the defensive back rotation.
Much like they expected of Crocker, the Bengals would be looking for Manning to provide leadership and quality minutes.
Taken by the Bears in the second round of the 2006 draft, Manning is a nine-year veteran with postseason experience. He was on the Texans teams that beat the Bengals in the 2011 and 2012 wild-card rounds. In the 2011 game, he had seven tackles.Previously covered Florida State for Orlando Sentinel and Georgia Tech for Macon Telegraph
Northwestern University graduate