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Bengals sign WR Alex Erickson to 2-year contract extension

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The Bengals get their primary returner locked up for two more years.

Cincinnati Bengals v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have signed Alex Erickson to a two-year contract extension through the 2020 season, the team announced Saturday.

According to Ian Rapoport, the extension will give Erickson $4.68 million:

Erickson was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract before becoming a restricted free agent in 2019. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin following the 2016 NFL Draft, which is why he would have hit restricted free agency after three years.

Erickson has primarily contributed as a returner on kickoffs and punts through his first two seasons, though he’s become more involved in the passing game as time wore on. That included 12 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown last season after grabbing just six passes as a rookie. He also had five rushes for 16 yards last year after not getting a run in 2016.

As the team’s No. 1 punt returner and kickoff returner in both ’16 and ’17, Erikson’s 27.9-yard average in ’16 led the AFC and ranked second best in team history. His career totals include 67 punt returns for a 7.1-yard average and 61 kickoff returns for a 24.1-yard average.

Erickson figures to be the No. 4 or 5 receiver option throughout the season while fighting with Josh Malone, Cody Core and Auden Tate for snaps. However, Tate is probably going to be a gameday inactive a lot due to him not contributing much on special teams, so expect Erickson to be active every game he’s healthy in 2018.