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Bengals release veteran safety George Iloka

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The NFL's safety market continues to fall on hard times.

The Bengals have released strong safety George Iloka, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported, via sources informed of the situation. The team later made the news official.

Coming two weeks before the start of the season, Cincinnati's decision comes as a surprise. A fifth-round draft pick in 2012, Iloka has been a mainstay in Marvin Lewis' secondary, starting 76 of a possible 82 games over the past five years.

The move is purely financial, Garafolo added, as Iloka is due $5.3 million in salary and roster bonuses this season. The Bengals had kicked the tires on Eric Reid as a potential replacement earlier this offseason, but the former 49ers starter remains out of work in a veteran safety market that has been historically slow to develop.

Reid went on to file a collusion grievance against the NFL following his visit with Cincinnati.

The Colts and Seahawks could be among the potential landing spots for Iloka, as they have shown interest in meeting with established safeties this summer.

From the Bengals' point of view, the decision to jettison a previously entrenched starter bodes well for second-round rookie Jessie Bates. Leading up to the draft, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah touted the former Wake Forest star as a playmaker with Pro Bowl potential.

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