Dan Hoard recently sat down with Marvin Lewis to do an interview for the Bengals’ official website.
The interview covered several topics, but one that stood out the most was when Hoard asked Lewis if the team would re-sign Tyler Eifert who is set to become a free agent.
“Yeah, the club would obviously like to re-sign Tyler [Eifert]. We have always made a great attempt to re-sign our good players,” said Lewis. “Obviously, Tyler’s career is not what he wanted, or what we expected. He has had some injuries he has continually had to overcome, and he is fighting back from some this year.”
This year, the Bengals don’t have a lot of good players hitting free agency. The biggest name is easily Eifert, but his inability to stay on the field makes the issue of re-signing him a difficult one.
Eifert finished this past season on Injured Reserve after he got surgeries on his back and knee to hopefully fix all of his nagging issues that he has been dealing with. He played two games this season, and his absence was felt as the team struggled to find openings in the passing game when defenses smothered A.J. Green.
Tyler Kroft did kick in seven touchdowns on the season, but outside of the red zone, he just simply couldn’t produce as consistently as an Eifert-level tight end.
Eifert has never played a full 16-game season for the Bengals in his five-year career with the team. The only reason anyone is thinking of keeping Eifert is because we know what kind of player he is when he is healthy.
In 2015, he had 13 touchdowns and was just unstoppable in the red zone. He helped take attention off of Green that season as well. It was the last season Green had 10-plus touchdowns.
A lot of whether Eifert gets re-signed by the Bengals is probably up to Eifert himself. The logical way for this to play out from Eifert’s stand point is to hit free agency and see what his market looks like. It would be hard to really gauge what kind of value teams have on Eifert given how injury-prone he has been through his career.
He may find that either no team is willing to offer him the long term deal he would like, or that no one is willing to pay him enough for a one-year prove it deal. In that case, returning to the Bengals on at least a one-year contract to prove his value may be the best thing if he is willing to bet on himself.
If he can prove he can stay healthy, then teams would probably be willing to open up their wallets a little bit more.
The Bengals will be working with around $37 million in cap space this offseason, and without too many other players on their list to retain, it wouldn’t be ideal to let Eifert walk if they can help it.
Odds are the two sides will agree to a one-year contract. Hopefully for the Bengals and Eifert, he can stay healthy and put up the monster numbers we know he can.