Sources: Bengals agree to sign D.J. Reader, Trae Waynes to bolster defense

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Bengals, a franchise not known for making big splashes in free agency, made two massive acquisitions Tuesday, agreeing to terms with defensive tackle D.J. Reader and cornerback Trae Waynes, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Reader has committed to a four-year, $53 million deal, sources told ESPN's Josina Anderson, and Waynes will receive a three-year, $42 million contract, sources confirmed to ESPN.

If and when things become official after the NFL's signing period opens at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, this will be two notable additions for Cincinnati.

Historically, the Bengals have been hesitant to be big spenders in free agency. Over the past five years, Cincinnati ranked 30th in total spending and guaranteed money given during free agency, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

During that span, no external free agent signed a contract worth more than $5.5 million in average annual salary. But the Bengals bucked the trend with Reader and Waynes, who are projected to become two of the top five highest-paid players on Cincinnati's roster.

Reader, a fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft, comes to Cincinnati after four seasons with the Houston Texans. During his time with the Texans, he tallied 6.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. Reader's average annual salary of $13.25 million is the highest for a Bengals free agent in at least the past five years, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

The Bengals have been the NFL's worst rushing defense in recent years. Since 2018, the Bengals have allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL. Last season, Cincinnati surrendered a league-high 2,382 rushing yards. Reader gives Cincinnati a young defensive tackle to build around. Geno Atkins, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and one of the Bengals' top pass-rushers, will be 32 at the start of the season.

The news of Reader's agreement was first reported by the Houston Chronicle, and the NFL Network first reported Waynes' deal.

Reader gave the Texans an immediate presence in the center of the defensive line, earning praise from J.J. Watt and others on the defense.

In 15 games last season for the Texans, Reader had 2.5 sacks and 52 tackles. He was named a Pro Bowl alternate. In 61 games over four seasons, he has 6.5 sacks and 154 tackles.

After Minnesota drafted Waynes with the 11th overall pick in 2015, he spent the entirety of his rookie contract with the Vikings. He amassed seven interceptions and made 53 starts in his five seasons with the franchise.

ESPN's Sarah Barshop contributed to this report.