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NFL Free Agents 2011: Raiders LB Thomas Howard Signs With Bengals

Thomas Howard was considered a young and developing member of the Oakland Raiders defensive corps who would eventually become a cornerstone of the franchise. But he fell out of favor last season and was eventually placed in a reserve role. It was clear that Howard needed a fresh start somewhere else, and the Cincinnati Bengals have apparently offered a welcoming hand.

Howard signed with the Bengals for two years and $6.5 million today, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN. Howard gives the Bengals a live body that can immediately contend for playing time. He has good all-around physical ability, but does have trouble shedding blockers and plays better away from the point of attack. He has exhibited solid durability when he's played though, having started all but two games in his first four seasons as a Raider.

For more on the Raiders, Silver & Black Pride is the place to go. Bengals coverage can be found at Cincy Jungle.