Signed In 2013: Jermaine Gresham, Orson Charles
Free Agent: Richard Quinn
Jermaine Gresham, once described as "unquestionably the best tight end" entering the 2010 NFL draft with a hulking stature at 6'5" and 250 pounds, is on the rise. No, really. Each year he's steadily improved his mainstream numbers, reaching a career-high 64 receptions for 737 yards receiving and five touchdowns, second-highest in his career. Gresham caught 68.1 percent of the passes that Andy Dalton targeted (which doesn't account for overthrows, underthrows or otherwise crappy throws), also a career-high.
But hearing that, you wouldn't believe it reading the reaction if a generic question were posed asking what your impression is of him. Pro Football Focus graded him poorly, especially as a run blocker turning in a score of -9.5, easily his worst. Football Outsiders ranked Gresham No. 17 with a 62 DYAR and a 2.9 percent DVOA, listed as No. 22 among all tight ends. According to PFF, Gresham dropped 10 passes and Brandon Pettigrew was the only tight end in the NFL that fumbled the football more.
The Bengals did draft Orson Charles, a tight end out of Georgia during the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft who played all 16 games during his rookie year, generating eight receptions for 101 yards receiving. However he was mostly used as a blocking tight end with 58.6 percent of his 304 offensive snaps during running plays.
[Note: For those of you saying Clark Harris and Bryce Harper are tight ends, just stop. They're long snappers. Nothing more.]
FREE AGENCY/NFL DRAFT: The Bengals may re-sign Richard Quinn, if only to place on the inactive list every week, strategically having someone available if an injury is suffered among the top two tight ends. Probably not. However something will have to happen to replenish the No. 3 tight end position -- which may or may not include multiple players fighting for that one spot.