The state of the Cincinnati Bengals’ tight end position is a bit of a question mark.
During the next two offseasons, all three of the team’s top tight ends are set to become free agents. We all know about Tyler Eifert, who’s set to hit free agency in the 2018 offseason. What you may not realize is both C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Kroft will become free agents in 2019. It’s also possible the Bengals franchise tag Eifert next year and have all three become free agents at the same time in 2019.
Needless to say, this position could change dramatically during the next two years, though the Bengals hope to avoid that. That’ll begin with getting Eifert extended this offseason or re-signed next offseason, followed by one, if not both of Kroft and Uzomah getting re-signed. However, the Bengals did spend a seventh-round draft pick on Buffalo tight end Mason Schreck this year, so he could potentially replace one of Kroft or Uzomah in 2019.
For now, the Bengals have five true tight ends under contract this year, as those four aforementioned guys are joined by undrafted free agent Cethan Carter, who was signed out of Nebraska.
Eifert leads the way in terms of cap hit with the $4,782,000 he’s set to make in 2017. Every other tight end is making less than $800,000.
According to Over The Cap, the Bengals rank 14th in terms of positional cap hit at tight end in 2017, which totals $9,471,206. However, that number includes h-back Ryan Hewitt, whose salary counts at tight end, though he’s more of a fullback. Even with Hewitt’s $2,275,000 cap hit, the Bengals still aren’t paying their tight ends much since everyone else is still on their rookie deal.
But assuming Carter and one more tight end gets waived as final cuts are made, the Bengals will probably be paying only Eifert, Hewitt, Uzomah and Kroft. That means the final number spent on tight ends will drop to around $8 million for the Bengals.
And if you don’t count Hewitt, that means the Bengals are paying their tight ends around $6 million, which would be around the eighth-smallest cap hit for tight end of any team.
If you don’t include Hewitt, about 4.65 percent of the Bengals’ overall team cap hit will be spent on tight ends. If you toss in Hewitt’s cap hit, it rises to around six percent.
Here is a contract breakdown of all the tight ends under contract, courtesy of Over The Cap: