It goes without saying that the Cincinnati Bengals are hoping to re-sign Taylor Mays and Brandon Tate, evident by Geoff Hobson's conjecture from a couple of days ago -- based on the cheap nature of their contracts and the decent production that Cincinnati received out of them. Re-signing both makes sense -- despite both being recipients of the "frustrated Bengals fan" that tends to harbor resentment if anything but perfection is shown.
Tate's 26.1 yard/return average on kickoff returns ranked sixth among players with 30 or more returns in the NFL. It was also the second-best average in a single season in franchise history -- Tremain Mack averaged 27.10 in '99. Tate is averaging 24.8 yards per kickoff return in his Bengals career, leading all franchise returners, including Lemar Parrish, who is second with a 24.66 yard/return average. Tate's career 9.87 yard/return average on punt returns ranks third in franchise history.
Cincinnati re-signed Tate to a one-year deal worth $715,000 with $251,000 in bonuses two weeks after free agency started last year. We figure that we should expect the same thing this year. Does that suggest Cincinnati won't hold a training camp competition as a return specialist?
Adam Jones, who has split duty as a punt returner with Tate, stopped returning punts last year when Leon Hall suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. Figure his role as a split-duty punt returner will resume in '14. And then there's Dane Sanzenbacher, who showed that he's more than capable returning punts during the preseason.
Either way, we'd be shocked if Tate isn't re-signed at some point in late March.