ILB Germaine Pratt Wasn’t Looking To Leave A Winner In Cincinnati: ‘We’re One Play Away, So Why Wouldn’t You Want To Stay?’

A third-round pick out of North Carolina St., fifth-year linebacker Germaine Pratt may be best known to some as the guy who was really mad at his teammate for committing a penalty near the end of the AFC Championship game last year. The Cincinnati Bengals will know him as their starting linebacker for the next three years after re-signing with the team. He explained why on their website.

We’re one play away, so why wouldn’t you want to stay? We’re close. It was a fact. I want to win”, he told after the deal was done. “I’m big on loyalty. They gave me an opportunity when I got in the league, so why would I try to leave for a team that wasn’t as successful for more money? I didn’t feel right about that”.

Even though he’s been a regular starter since the middle of his rookie season, Pratt has never been an every-down linebacker. He played a career-high 76 percent of the snaps in 2022, for example, totaling 724 snaps for the Bengals defense.

That also corresponded to a career-high 99 tackles and six tackles for loss. He also recorded his first full sack with a forced fumble, two interceptions, and 10 passes defensed, coming off of his best and most complete season at age 26.

Pratt reportedly signed a three-year deal to remain in Cincinnati totaling $20,220,588, with a $7 million signing bonus and a base salary of $2.75 million, according to Over the Cap. He can also earn another $350,000 per season with workout and per-game roster bonuses, included in the original total cited.

These numbers don’t exactly move the needle much in terms of inside linebacker compensation rankings, but Pratt was never considered one of the premiere inside linebackers, either to come out in this free agency class or generally. He’s hoping to continue getting better, however, and playing more in the Bengals’ stable system.

“I want to win and [with defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo] staying, that helps a lot”, he said. “Each and every year it seems like I improve and he lets me go out there and play and it’s always beneficial knowing the scheme because it makes you play faster”.

The Bengals have reached at least the conference finals in each of the past two seasons after decades of playoff misery. They came within a minute of claiming a Super Bowl title at the end of the 2021 season. Aided by a late penalty with eight seconds left that turned a 60-yard field goal attempt into a 45-yard one, they lost in the conference finals in 2022 to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Pratt is the Bengals’ number two linebacker behind Logan Wilson, who led the team with 123 tackles last season. Both are draft-and-develop stories in a defense that is otherwise checkered with a lot of free agency supplementation. This time, they keep one of their own.

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