Linebacker Kevin Minter signing with Bengals

Linebacker Kevin Minter is signing with the Cincinnati Bengals, a source tells ESPN's Josina Anderson.

Minter, who turned 26 in December, has been the Cardinals' starting inside linebacker the past two seasons after spending the first two seasons of his career being groomed for the role of the defense's quarterback.

Minter, who is known as a "thumper" for his hard hitting, had 81 tackles and a career-high 3.5 sacks last season.

He told ESPN that he feels his career has been on a four-year upswing, from his head swimming as a rookie in 2013 to having control of the Cards' second-ranked defense last season. He lost more than 20 pounds before the 2015 season to get in condition to be a sideline-to-sideline linebacker.

Minter said he was nervous and anxious about experiencing free agency for the first time, and though he wanted to return to Arizona, the Atlanta native was also looking forward to seeing how the market unfolded.

ESPN's Josh Weinfuss contributed to this report.