The Cincinnati Bengals lost a few key starters this offseason and could lose another next offseason. Tyler Eifert is a free agent next offseason and will be looking to get paid as one of the top tight ends in the league.
Tyler Eifert is one of the best tight ends in the league, when not injured. Eifert when healthy, has been easily one of the best red zone targets if not the best. Eifert broke out in his 3rd year after the Bengals elected to not resign Jermaine Gresham and let Eifert be the No.1 tight end.
His ability to be the top red zone option for the Bengals and provide a threat other than A.J. Green in the passing game is amazing. He’s the security blanket for Andy and also a huge part of the offense.
The only concern with Eifert has been… health. He’s missed 27 games in four years. That’s an outrageous amount of games not played. He missed nearly the whole campaign, in his second season. But, he played almost all of his breakout season (15 games).
After the 2015 regular season, he got injured in his first ever Pro Bowl and missed eight games after that. He finished the year with 394 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Eifert is in a contract year and could be paid big tight end money. Someone will want his ability in the red zone. Tons of teams will take advantage of the opportunity to get a great receiving tight end. According to the current market, provided by Spotrac, Eifert could command more than $9,000,000 if he comes back with a great season in his contract year.
Nine million+ a year for a tight end would not be ideal for the Bengals and they may want to pay him less. Unfortunately, that’s the market. Sadly, it’s the price you must pay for a great tight end and one that’s a big part of the offense. The question is simple: Is Eifert willing to take a pay cut to remain with the Bengals?
If Eifert has around 600-700+ receiving yards and 10+ receiving touchdowns, he could be getting a huge payday. The Bengals will have other players to re-sign next year as well, notably, Vontaze Burfict. If the Bengals are willing to re-sign Eifert right now, the benefit could be getting him cheaper than waiting until next season.
Delaying a decision until next offseason could be riskier and could eventually hurt the Bengals in contract negotiations. If he ends up having a great season, he could command more than $10,000,000 a year. If Tyler gets injured and plays partially, it could help the Bengals’ contract talks. But, I don’t think the Bengals look to re-sign him then. One option is to draft a tight end early or in the mid rounds. Cincinnati could get a possible replacement if they decide not to re-up.