The Bengals are reportedly parting ways with tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes, according to WLWT reporter Elise Jesse.
Two sources now telling me that Bengals TE coach, Jonathan Hayes has been let go.— Elise Jesse (@Elise_JesseWLWT) January 10, 2019
Hate reporting on guys losing their jobs, especially guys like him... one of the nicest men in this business.
Hayes, who was an NFL tight end for 12 seasons for the Chiefs and Steelers, just finished his 16th year as Bengals tight ends coach.
An earlier report from PFT said that the Bengals were in the process of letting assistant coaches go, so it looks like Hayes will be the first coach to be handed a pink slip.
It’s unclear if the Bengals are letting Hayes go simply because they’re overhauling their entire staff, or if the team felt like he just wasn’t cutting it as the tight ends coach. I would venture to guess it’s the former, as Hayes has done a lot with a position group over the years.
Sure, he had a first-round pick in Tyler Eifert and a third-round pick in Tyler Kroft, but both players have been injury prone over the years, leaving Hayes to work with guys like C.J. Uzomah, Matt Lengel and Jordan Franks.
In fact, Hayes did a great job of developing Uzomah, a former fifth-round pick who caught just 29 passes in four years at Auburn, into a solid contributor for the Bengals. In 16 games (15 starts) this past season, Uzomah record career-highs in catches (43), yards (439) and touchdowns (3) on a respectable 10.2 yards per catch.
Meanwhile, Kroft and Eifert both finished the season on injured reserve. Hayes has been dealt a lot of bad hands at his position over the years but still managed to get some good production out of it.
When Kroft was healthy, Hayes helped develop him into a solid starter for the Bengals in 2017 with Eifert missing most of the season. In 16 games that year, Kroft recorded career-highs in catches (42), yards (404) and touchdowns (7), the last being the sixth-most in the NFL by any tight end in 2017.
Of course, Hayes helped develop Eifert into a Pro Bowl selection in the 2015 season, and likely would have been selected in 2016 as well had he not missed half the season due to injuries.
In 2015, Eifert had one of the most productive seasons by a tight end in franchise history. Despite missing nearly four full games due to injury, Eifert scored 13 touchdowns, a Bengals tight end record, and he finished just one off the overall NFL lead for scores.
Hopefully, Hayes quickly finds another job in the NFL. He certainly deserves it.