The Cincinnati Bengals’ biggest gut shot this offseason was losing tight end C.J. Uzomah to the New York Jets early in the legal tampering period. That leaves a pretty big hole at receiving from the tight end position.
It’s clear that the Bengals need someone there to pair with tight end Drew Sample that is an outstanding blocker, but he leaves plenty to be desired as a pass catcher.
It is a bit of a surprising move for the Jets to give Uzomah a three-year $24 million dollar deal and then follow it up with a three-year deal for Conklin worth $21 million. That is quite a bit for the position in an NFL where it is rare to have two tight ends on the field at the same time.
For the Bengals, it is unfortunate, but there are still tight ends available that can start and make an impact in the receiving area. Guys like Hayden Hurst, Austin Hooper and Gerald Everett could easily be fourth options in this offense.
Speaking of which, that is something to remember about the tight end position in this offense. Having guys like Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd at the wide receiver position means the importance of having a dynamic playmaker here is a luxury.
It’s likely a luxury the Bengals may not see as something they can afford to pay that much for if they want to retain their receivers and running back Joe Mixon to surround quarterback Joe Burrow. It also could impact how well they can acquire and retain protection for Burrow down the line.
It seems like regardless of what free agent comes in that this team should end up drafting a high potential tight end in the mid-rounds to develop as well. That is their best chance of adding that high caliber player at that position.