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Free Agent Profile: Jermaine Gresham

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Should the Bengals bring back tight end Jermaine Gresham?

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

2014 stats:

62 catches for 460 yards and five TD's.

How he became a Bengal:

Selected by Cincinnati in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft (21st overall).

Case for re-signing him:

Gresham completed his fifth season as the starting Bengals tight end during which he was selected to two Pro Bowls. He finished second on the team last season in receptions, third in yards and second in receiving TDs. In 2013, Gresham finished the season with 46 catches, four shy of a record that Hall of Famer Mike Ditka holds as the only TE with 50 or more catches in each of his first four NFL seasons. Gresham is the first Bengals TE to log three consecutive seasons of 50 or more catches. Gresham has a positive grade in pass protection from ProFootball Focus and was ranked as their second-best tight end in pass protection last season only allowing one pressure in 109 snaps.

Case against re-signing him:

Gresham needs to get out of his own head. Disgruntled Bengals fans will cry foul if Gresham is praised in any aspect of his game, but he has been one of the most productive tight ends in Bengals’ history. His mental mistakes shine poorly on a career that would look good without those blemishes. Gresham at times has struggled with drops, pre-snap penalties and ball security. Pair that with the fact that the Bengals have another first round tight end, and the case for paying top money for Jermaine Gresham is weak.

Final Verdict:

I would like to see Gresham back in stripes next season. If he can fix the pre-snap penalties, and keep on the trend of protecting the football, Gresham could be another piece in a dynamic offense. His pass blocking success along with his athletic talent could allow the Bengals to exploit mismatches in coverage. In two of the Bengals’ worst losses, Gresham seemed to be the only player who continued to play hard (Cleveland, Indianapolis). I think the Bengals are a better team with Gresham on the roster.