Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, concluding a five-year contract that he signed as a first-round rookie in 2010. During his tumultuous stay in Cincinnati, Gresham posted 280 receptions, 2,722 yards receiving and 24 touchdowns... he also lost six fumbles (11 total) and dropped 26 of 306 catchable passes during his career. And penalties... lord.
Gresham finished the '14 season with a touchdown scored in three-straight games played and five in the last six. He's played three postseason games (sat out against the Colts with a bad back) and generated 14 receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown in those games:
Should the Bengals re-sign Gresham really depends on several factors:
1) Are you willing to risk a season with only Tyler Eifert, who has yet to play a full season after two years? Cincinnati's backup tight ends this year were Alex Smith and Kevin Brock, both of whom were blocking-specific players. Ryan Hewitt is more of an H-Back and figures to stay in that role. Eifert suffered a dislocated elbow during the regular season opener against Baltimore and, despite being placed on the team's short-term Injured Reserve, he never returned.
1a) Should the Bengals draft a tight end during the first two days (three rounds) if they're allowing Gresham to leave for free agency? Is that a higher priority than defensive line, linebacker, or offensive line? Maybe a more reliable receiver?
2) Does he even wish to stay? Gresham is usually hounded on Twitter by upset fans because of a critical fault that led to a loss, or near-loss, while players like A.J. Green and Jeremy Hill get free passes for their own goofy mistakes. This, undoubtedly, led to Gresham titling himself "The Villain." Why would anyone want to stay when your team's fans relentlessly hound you about how much you suck?
3) Are the Bengals even willing to keep him around? We forward you to an Alex Marvez report during Week 15 when the Bengals played the Cleveland Browns andJermaine Gresham sat out with a toe injury that even surprised the Bengals.
A source told FOX Sports that the Bengals were expecting Gresham to play in Sunday's 30-0 victory over Cleveland. That sentiment was reinforced Sunday when Gresham "looked great running around" during a pre-game workout, the source said. Gresham, though, was declared inactive to miss his first game of the season.
The surprise carried over to radio voice Dave Lapham, who made on-air comments that upset Gresham... however, this little tiff shouldn't carry much weight. Unless there's the whole "immaturity" or "instability" angle that someone wants to present -- which we're not.
Regardless, is Gresham viewed as a player that will play through the pain and the injury for the team? It's kind of a ridiculous question to ask (considering that many labor-intensive jobs expect you to do the same), but there you go.
4) Why didn't the Bengals extend him before this year is an excellent question to ask, especially considering that he earned $3.4 million in 2014 -- a significant jump from the previous year -- with a cap number of $4.8 million. More money could have been earned for Gresham and cap space saved for Cincinnati, who is still calculating how to get A.J. Green under a long-term deal. Did Cincinnati ever consider extending Gresham? Is that an indication on how we would perceive their overall interest in him, now that Tyler Eifert is with the team?
The Question: We don't care about the money part. We just want to know, do you want Jermaine Gresham back?