The Cincinnati Bengals are keeping their tight end group together, now re-signing Tyler Eifert.
Tyler Eifert was a free agent again this offseason, and for a second straight year he’ll remain where he has been his entire career. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Cincinnati Bengals have re-signed the oft-injured tight end.
If availability is the most important ability, Eifert has failed miserably. Over the last five seasons he has missed 52 of 80 games, with 26 missed games over the last two seasons alone. A broken ankle ended his 2018 campaign after four games, and the former first-round pick has also had three back surgeries.
In the only season over the last five where he played more than eight games, 2015, Eifert had 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns. During that season, he had the highest passer rating when targeted (145.1) among all qualifying tight ends (according to Pro Football Focus).
With a 6-foot-7 tight end to throw to for most of that season, it’s no coincidence Andy Dalton posted the highest passer rating (106.2), completion percentage (66.1), yards per completion (12.7) and QBR (70.0) of his career in 2015.
Rapoport reported Eifert is going back to the Bengals on a one-year deal. No official financial terms are out yet, but it’s safe to assume the contract will be incentive-laden and along the lines of the $8 million max value he got last year.
Eifert tweeted out his appreciation to the Bengals’ organization
Pat Thorman of Pro Football Focus offered another look at the aforementioned impact Eifert has on Dalton
Dr. David Chao teased his upcoming dismissal of Eifert as “injury prone.”
Joe Goodberry of The Athletic pointed to have little Dalton, Eifert and wide receiver A.J. Green have been on the field together in playoff games. (As much as that’s a current concern for the Bengals).
Zac Taylor has come in as Cincinnati’s head coach from the Los Angeles Rams, where tight ends have not been a big part of the passing game under Sean McVay. But re-signing Eifert, and also bringing back C.J. Uzomah (43 receptions for 439 yards last season), points to the tight ends being a prominent part of the Bengals’ offense this year.
Eifert is getting another “prove it” deal, with plenty to prove. If he struggles to stay on the field again he’ll probably be in this same spot next year, taking a one-year deal in a secondary wave of free agency.