The Cincinnati Bengals improved a lot of their roster over this past offseason, adding defensive end depth, safety and cornerback depth while improving the offensive line.
However, one position that it could be argued got worse, or at minimum didn’t get much better, is tight end.
The Bengals swapped out fan favorite C.J. Uzomah for a cheaper option in Hayden Hurst, who is backed up by former second round pick Drew Sample and whoever of the uninspiring remaining players sticks on the roster. On top of that, neither of Sample or Hurst are under contract beyond 2022, making this a clear need for the Bengals going forward.
With all of that in mind it is very possible the Bengals look at players on roster bubbles as potential additions whether it is through trades, or signing recently cut players onto the roster or practice squad. Let’s take a look at some of the more intriguing options.
Someone that a decent amount of Bengals fans were interested in signing before he signed with the Buffalo Bills and Hurst signed with Cincinnati. Howard has been seemingly outplayed by younger and cheaper options for Buffalo, but he could still be of assistance for Cincinnati. He also is without a doubt still a solid blocker, which is something the Bengals would appreciate even if he has not fully gained back the athleticism that got him drafted in the first round.
A potential New Orleans Saints cut candidate is definitely being hurt by a full room of tight ends. Vannett is a guy who offers very little in the passing game, but if the Bengals wanted another plus in the blocking department, they can’t do much better than Vannett. Of course, if they are looking for receiving, there is not going to be too much expected of him, but he can catch a few checkdowns if needed.
The odds of this are slim, but it feels worth bringing up with trade rumors swirling around the Miami Dolphins tight end and his struggles to play as a more traditional tight end. He does not fit what the Bengals need, and they would be unlikely to want to pay him or offer enough in a trade to get Miami to give him up, but there’s no question he’s one of the most notable tight ends to watch for this week.
Hands down the best option if the Bengals are looking for another receiving option at tight end especially if they want some long term receiving tight end upside. Cager is a wide receiver converted to tight end, so he still has some clear growing to do, especially as a blocker, but the flashes he has shown as a receiver make him very worth a roster spot. The biggest question is if he makes the New York Jets’ final roster as he seems to be right on the border of making it into a crowded tight end room. If he doesn’t, it is very possible Cager is picked up by another team, which could potentially be Cincinnati.