The Bengals have begun a late push in free agency over the last couple of weeks, bringing in a multitude of players for visits and signing some to a contract. One such signing occurred on Tuesday, per the report first broken by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Smith was brought in for a visit last week, in a slew that included James Harrison, Kerry Rhodes and Karlos Dansby. So far, the veteran tight end is the only one of the four to agree to a contract, though reports are surfacing that the Bengals are getting close with Harrison.
The Smith connection makes sense because of some familiarity with offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden. Both spent time together in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers and he'll provide some stability as a blocker at the position behind starter Jermaine Gresham. The Bengals already had a similar player to Smith in Richard Quinn, but Smith could prove to be a better blocker overall and has had a much more decorated NFL career than Quinn.
The question now seems to linger around the role of second-year man, Orson Charles. It's unclear if he will be falling further down the depth chart, or if they have some specific packages in mind for the youngster. It would be a shame to see his development stunted once again this year, but the coaches seem to like what Smith will bring and that should inspire confidence at the possibility of further strengthening that position group.
Though he may have a Reggie Kelly-like role on the team in 2013, he does bring a bit more as a receiver than Kelly did. He has spent time with the Buccaneers, Eagles and Browns before landing with the Bengals. Smith is entering his ninth year and has 160 career receptions, 1,461 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. No details on the length and value of his contract have been released yet.