There were some who second-guessed defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer when he pushed for the Bengals to sign cornerback Terence Newman last year. A year later, it was Newman who ended up rewarding Zimmer for his faith in him.

Even though the Raiders offered more money, Newman agreed to terms late Friday night on a two-year contract to remain in Cincinnati. The signing will be official sometime this week.

Said Newman in a tweet announcing his return to the Bengals: “I came in with Mike Zimmer and feel it’s only right that I leave as him coaching me. Thanks to Raiders Nation for showing me such love.”

According to a league source, Newman’s deal is worth $5 million, including $3 million this season.

After being released by Dallas last March, Newman signed with the Bengals three weeks later. Said Zimmer at the time: “I talked to several people that saw him play and they think he can still be productive. I know what kind of player and person he is. He has a great heart. Sometimes you gamble on heart, but most of the time you end up winning those.”

Zimmer, who was Newman’s defensive coordinator from 2003-06 with the Cowboys, was right – the gamble on heart ended up paying off.

This past season, Newman ended up starting all 16 games that he played in, missing the regular-season finale against Baltimore due to a groin injury. He led the team in passes defensed with 14 and had two interceptions, both of which came in the Week 9 loss to Denver. He was fifth on the team in tackles (75) while also having a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

With this contract, Newman is the 12th out of the 23 Bengals’ unrestricted free agents who will be back. Of those 12, six are on defense – defensive ends Michael Johnson, Robert Geathers and Wallace Gilberry, linebacker Rey Maulauga, cornerback Adam Jones and Newman – and four were starters. The only starter lost has been linebacker Manny Lawson, who signed with Buffalo.

Of the three unsigned defensive players – linebacker Thomas Howard, cornerback Nate Clements and safety Chris Crocker – Howard would be the one the Bengals are focused on, but he is still seven months out from knee surgery with his rehab continuing.