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2016 Cincinnati Bengals Offseason Outlook: Tight end

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Barring injury, there may not be a position group entering the 2016 season more set than the tight end position.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals enter the 2016 offseason with a ton of free agents and a lot of questions. However, our first two groups, quarterback and running back, had a total of zero free agents and few questions. Only one other position is stable - tight end. Starting next week, we will get into the meat and potatoes of the Bengals' offseason, but today, let's recap the Bengals tight end position in 2015 and look ahead to where they stand in 2016.

2015 Recap:

Player

Rec

Yds

TDs

YPA

Tyler Eifert

52

615

13

11.8

Tyler Kroft

11

129

1

11.7

C.J. Uzomah

1

4

0

4.0

Coming into the 2015 season, we knew the Bengals tight end room was filled with youth, talent and potential, but we had yet to see any of it on an NFL field. Tyler Eifert had been the talk of training camp for the past two seasons, but thanks to injuries and depth on the roster in his rookie season, we had yet to see it on the field. 2016 was Eifert's breakout season, and though he still has durability concerns, his athleticism, route running and rapport with Andy Dalton - particularly in the redzone - established Eifert as one of the most difficult matchups in the NFL. Because of Eifert's dominance and the plethora of other receiving options, we saw very little of the other tight ends in the passing game.

Tyler Kroft, mostly an afterthought in the passing game, was a solid contributor as a blocker and showed promise in Eifert's absence. In my opinion, Kroft has the ability to be a Heath Miller type - lofty comparison, I know - but he has the ability to be an all-around tight end like Miller and because of the flashy weapons the Bengals have, he would fly under the radar like Miller has done for almost his entire career. C.J. Uzomah is still an unknown, but with Eifert and Kroft, the Bengals have the luxury of finding out what they have. Uzomah has the physical tools to be a dangerous weapon, but he is extremely raw.

2015 Depth Chart/Contract Numbers:

TE Player Depth Chart Age Status 2015 Cap Hit 2016 Cap Hit Dead Money Signed Through
1 Tyler Eifert TE1 25 Signed 2,251,637 2,626,909 1,861,500 2016
2 Tyler Kroft TE2 23 Signed 596,944 712,444 485,832 2018
3 C.J. Uzomah TE3 23 Signed 488,190 578,190 159,572 2018

2016 Outlook:

Barring injury, there will be no changes to the Bengals 2016 tight end depth chart and the only discussion of tight ends in the offseason will be whether or not Eifert can stay healthy for a full season and if the Bengals should extend his contract before his rookie deal expires. My money is on the Bengals extending Eifert this offseason. The Bengals have a history of wrapping up their young talent before their deals expire, and with one year left on his rookie deal and the promise of big money in his future, signing Eifert to an extension this offseason wouldn't be surprising and would be a great investment.