As free agency gets closer we have to deal with the hypothetical that another team will be willing to take a chance on Tyler Eifert. That would leave the team with only Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah at the tight end position. Kroft produced in the redzone last season, but he wasn’t the reliable mismatch that Andy Dalton was use to having in Eifert. The effects were obvious.
That is where Trey Burton could come in. The Eagles may struggle to try and retain Burton as they already have Zach Ertz, so paying two tight ends close to starting money could be hard to pull off. The free agent market also has quite a few options as tight end, and even the draft has a few interesting options for teams with needs at that spot. It could end up making Burton a realistic option for the Bengals.
Years Pro: Entering his fifth season
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 235 pounds
Last Contract’s Details: One-year worth $2.74 million
Benefits to the Bengals signing him
- Huge upside: The Bengals could potentially be getting a bargain here if a bigger role results in better results for Burton. He has been stashed away behind Ertz since coming to the Eagles. In fact last season he only played 26.5 percent of the offensive snaps. His biggest game came when Ertz was out against the Rams, and he caught five passes for 71 yards with two touchdowns. He also finished the season with five total touchdowns.
- Great fit schematically: Bill Lazor’s offense will likely be more spread oriented considering his background in the league, and Burton has had several years of experience in similar offenses under his belt. Not to mention bringing in Burton allows the Bengals to go to a two tight end set more easily.
- Creates more mismatches for Dalton to exploit: Dalton needs help offensively, and I don’t think there is an argument there. You can see how his numbers drop off when Eifert of A.J. Green weren’t in the lineup and from when they both took the field together. Burton seems to be a more reliable player as far as health, but you do sacrifice a little bit of talent obviously. Burton still provides a sure handed tight end option. He is capable of out running linebackers and boxing out safeties.
- Takes pressure off of Kroft: Kroft would still be the team’s designated blocking tight end, but he would no longer get the attention that the top tight end would be dealing with. Burton would quickly take the attention of the opposing team’s top pass coverage option against tight ends. Also given Dalton’s new faith in Kroft, he could still have quite the impact in the passing game.
Reasons that could deter the Bengals
- The price tag for an unknown commodity: Bringing in Burton could almost be viewed as bringing in an expensive draft pick. Burton has shown flashes, but he has never really shown sustained success over a season. Outside of last season he was basically nonexistent.
- The plethora of other options: As I said up top, there are plenty of free agent options as well as players in the draft. Then of course there is the reality that Eifert will likely be the team’s first priority as far as tight ends go. If he signs else where the Bengals could decide to take the cheaper route of attempting to draft Eifert’s replacement while relying on Kroft to fill the starting tight end spot again next season.