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Jermaine Gresham has herniated disc, per NFL Network

NFL Free agency is two weeks old, but Jermaine Gresham still probably isn't signing a deal anytime soon.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Jermaine Gresham's first offseason as a free agent has been one to forget.

After the Bengals decided to let the enigmatic tight end explore the market, Gresham appeared to find a suitor in the Oakland Raiders shortly after free agency opened. However, the two sides were unable to agree on a deal, and Gresham has not drawn interest from any team since then.

Then earlier this week, reports of a back injury surfaced, and now Ian Rapoport says it's a herniated disc that will require surgery. This probably means Gresham isn't getting a new deal until around the NFL draft or possibly afterward. His best chance may be to wait after the draft to see if a TE-needy team is unable to address that need in the draft and then turns to Gresham as a backup plan.

The former first-round pick completed his fifth season, averaging 56 receptions with 544 yards receiving per season and 24 combined touchdowns. Gresham's five years with the Bengals have featured three different offensive coordinators, paired within a system that limits passing game progressions.

Cincinnati hasn't publicly shown any effort (or interest) in re-signing Gresham since free agency began, leading many to conclude that the team is done with the former first round pick. Gresham recently told SiriusXM Radio that his "heart is in Cincinnati. I want to stay there, but it's up to them." Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson even said that there's a place for him here in Cincinnati.

However, reports surfaced in January that "there are many coaches within the building who want zero do with Gresham at this point," most of which stems from immaturity issues and sudden questions of unreliability.