The injury-prone tight end could be sidelined for an extended amount of time with a lingering back issue.
The Bengals league-worst scoring offense took another hit when it was released on Monday that tight end Tyler Eifert is expected to miss an extended amount of time due to the back issue that kept him out of Sunday’s overtime loss to Green Bay.
Eifert played in the first two games of 2017, totaling 46 yards on four catches. He had surgery on his back in the offseason, which caused him to miss team activities before returning for training camp. The Pro-Bowler landed on injured reserve last season with back and ankle issues.
Eifert has not been able to reproduce the magic that put him on the map in 2015. That season, he was a red zone delight, snagging 13 touchdowns.
This latest development just adds to Eifert’s injury-prone professional playing days. Since 2014, he’s missed more games (27) than he’s played (24).
This also paints an enormous question mark on Eifert’s future in Cincinnati. The 21st overall pick in the 2013 draft is in his final season of the $8.2 million deal. If he’s more of a presence on the inactive list than in the huddle, he could be signing elsewhere when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Since using a first-round pick on Eifert in 2013, the Bengals have drafted three tight ends. Two of them (both from the 2015 class) will step into more playing time this season.
Tyler Kroft, who had the second-most targets (4) against the Packers, will likely be the starter. A third-rounder from Rutgers, Kroft has 25 career catches for 254 yards in a minimal role. In goal-line packages, expect to see more of C.J. Uzomah, who hauled in 25 receptions last year during Eifert’s absence.