The Bengals did plenty this offseason to address areas of need. They landed an abundance of defensive help in free agency and the NFL Draft to go along with a franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow with the first-overall pick.
One position many fans thought the team would address was tight end, and not a single one was added until after the draft when Mitch Wilcox of South Florida agreed to a deal with the team.
According to ESPN NFL reporter John Keim, it seems as if the Bengals were originally targeting LSU’s Thaddeus Moss for that spot. Moss ended up signing with Washington moments after the draft, but Moss told Keim that Cincinnati was interested.
Moss said he signed with the Redskins because they called first. The other two to call right after the draft: New England and Cincinnati.— John Keim (@john_keim) May 13, 2020
It should come as no surprise that the Bengals were interested in reuniting Moss with his college quarterback from the past two seasons. That Cincinnati couldn’t make the deal happen in time may end up being a fairly big “what if” moment if the Bengals struggle at tight end down the round.
Cincinnati appears to be pretty set at the position with C.J. Uzomah getting an extension last season and selecting Drew Sample in the second round, but neither of those guys have played at a level where you are confident viewing them as irreplaceable going forward. The loss of Tyler Eifert also left many fans thinking this team would be lacking a playmaker at tight end. Moss may have been able to fill that role.
Moss seemingly didn’t get drafted due to a Jones fracture in his foot that kept him from competing at the NFL combine. With this unorthodox offseason, he was never afforded a chance to show teams his progress in recovering from the injury. Moss also had just one years worth of production. He caught 47 passes for 570 yards with four touchdowns in 2019. The son of former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss really had his stock hurt with the limitations this offseason.
It would’ve been nice to add Moss to the tight end group, but without landing any others besides Wilcox, it really puts the pressure on Sample and Uzomah. It also may have been nice for Burrow to have a familiar safety blanket in an offseason where there won’t be as many practice opportunities as normal.
Sometimes, the other team just calls first.