Tyler Eifert has finally been cleared to participate in training camp. However, Cincinnati may want to add some insurance for the injury-prone tight end.
Training camp is underway, Vontaze Burfict is in great shape and John Ross and Tyler Eifert are on the field. All the great comments that fans should be hearing from training camp are here and super early predictions say that the team is primed for a big year and a lot of great individual seasons.
However, there is a small piece of me that feels like the Bengals should monitor Eifert and, perhaps, provide some insurance in the process. The Bengals tight end position is possibly one of the weakest on the team. Outside of Eifert, Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah aren’t players that necessarily excite you or make you feel comfortable about the position if Eifert goes down.
Currently, the one player that could provide some nice backup is Gary Barnidge.
Barnidge was released by the Cleveland Browns directly after they selected rookie tight end David Njoku, in the first round of the draft. Barnidge was coming off a solid season that saw him catch 55 passes for 612 yards and two touchdowns.
Those numbers were down from his 2015 season that saw him go for 1,043 yards on 79 receptions and nine touchdowns.
Upgrade In the Future?
The former Browns tight end was rumored to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills. However, he remains a free agent. At age 31, the tight end may still have enough left in the tank to be an upgrade over Kroft and Uzomah.
Although Cincinnati seems to be moving towards a youth movement, a one-year veteran signing would benefit the Bengals in this case.
In an interview with NFL.com, Barnidge seems to have the right attitude as well.
"“I have no problem being a No. 2 or whatever to help guys, but I also still think I have the ability to be a No. 1,” Barnidge said. “A lot of people don’t understand is that, my first seven years of my career, I don’t get to play a lot. I was always the second or third tight end, just playing special teams. So I don’t have the wear and tear on my body or my legs.”"
"“I am in no hurry. I’m staying in shape. I’m ready, I’ll be ready when that call comes. I’m in no rush right now.”"