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LB Germaine Pratt on re-signing with Bengals: 'I'm big on loyalty'

One minor surprise during Monday's flurry of free agency news following the NFL's negotiation window opening was Bengals linebacker Germain Pratt agreeing to a deal to remain in Cincinnati.

The linebacker told Geoff Hobson of the team's official website that the decision to re-sign in Cincy was about how close the Bengals remain to winning a Super Bowl trophy.

"We're one play away, so why wouldn't you want to stay? We're close. It was a fact. I want to win," Pratt said. "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."

For a club mired in a malaise of malodor for years and years, hearing that players want to return for a chance to win must be quite refreshing. That's what having a young, dynamic quarterback like Joe Burrow can do for a franchise's fortunes.

NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Monday that Pratt is signing a three-year, $21 million deal with Cincinnati, per sources. The pact includes $10.35 million in Year 1 and $15.15 million over two years.

Beyond a couple of outliers like Tremaine Edmunds, the off-ball linebacker market has been fairly team-friendly early in free agency.

Most expected Pratt to move on once he hit the open market. That expectation was one reason the linebacker was so openly frustrated with how the Bengals' season ended on a personal foul by teammate Joseph Ossai.

In the end, while the Bengals lost two key safeties (Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell) early in free agency, retaining Pratt keeps more continuity in the defensive front. Pratt added that defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo returning also played a crucial role in his decision to remain in Cincy.

"Absolutely," Pratt said. "I want to win, and Lou staying, that helps a lot. 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."

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