Geno Stone stabs Ravens in back by signing with division rival Bengals

Stone will wear orange and black next season

Carolina Panthers v Baltimore Ravens
Carolina Panthers v Baltimore Ravens / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Baltimore Ravens fans have been mentally preparing themselves for a very difficult start to free agency, as big names at multiple key positions are going to call time on their tenure in purple and black. Among them is safety Geno Stone, who went from an afterthought to an impactful starter overnight.

Stone recorded seven interceptions last season, leading the AFC. While the Ravens have typically been willing to reward internal development stories like this, their tight financial situation made things tough. Stone not only left the Ravens, but he went to the worst possible situation for fans who fawned over him just a few months ago.

Stone joined the rival Cincinnati Bengals on a two-year, $15 million contract. For a player who was a major piece in one of the best defenses in the league, getting him for less per year than what Darnell Savage got from the Jaguars is a solid bit of business for Baltimore's Ohio-based foes.

Baltimore Ravens safety Geno Stone signs with rival Cincinnati Bengals

While the Ravens already have Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams in the fold, their propensity for putting three safeties on the field last year helped Stone establish himself as a truly exceptional safety with the ability to intercept passes at a rate no one expected when he was drafted out of Iowa.

The Ravens could use one of their late-round draft picks on a replacement or just roll with the 1-2 punch of Hamilton and Williams to start next season. Even with Stone widely expected to leave the team in free agency, losing him to the Bengals for a relatively cheap price has to sting for Baltimore fans.

The Bengals are going all-in on youth in their secondary, as they spent a 2022 first-round pick on Daxton Hill and second-round choices in back-to-back seasons on Cam Taylor-Britt and DJ Turner. Stone's career year helped him land in Cincinnati, where he is expected to start opposite Hill at free safety.

Losing Stone is one thing, but watching him put on those Bengals stripes is a nasty sight. While he should be heralded for the good work he did in his brief tenure with the Ravens, he will be an enemy when Lamar Jackson and company face off against him in their AFC North schedule.