Cincinnati Bengals want to retain Brandon Tate

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tate will become an unrestricted free agent on March 11.

The Cincinnati Bengals will "make a run" to re-sign wide receiver and special teams returner Brandon Tate, according to Bengals.com. Despite the overall frustration that fans have towards Tate (just run forward!!), it makes sense for the team to continue their investment in one of their best all-time returners.

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.

There are alternatives available in free agency.

Special teams returner Devin Hester told the entire world that he will not return to Chicago next season.

"From my knowledge, I know that Chicago wants to go a different route with me," Hester told the NFL Network. "All I can say is thanks to the fans for their support. They've always been great to me. Always been loyal. I couldn't have played for a better city than those guys. At the end of my career, I do want to retire as a member of the Bears."

Hester, a three-time Pro Bowler, set an NFL record after scoring his 19th touchdown on a return last season -- 13 on punt returns, five on kickoff returns and one during a missed field goal.

We're not expecting much interest from Paul Brown Stadium in Hester, who may follow his former head coach, Lovie Smith, to Tampa Bay.

"I look at Lovie as my number one coach right now because he's the one that took a chance on me coming out of the draft," Hester said. "He has all my respect so if he's a guy that is going to shoot at me and want me to come play with him again, my arms are open."

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