5 free agents the Bengals could sign for the minimum

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Trey Burton #80 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Free Agents Bengals Could Sign for Minimum

Trey Burton, TE, Indianapolis Colts 

Fantasy football players (like me) struggled to find value in the Colts’ TE room as Trey Burton split reps with Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox last season. Though Burton was never a reliable fantasy player, he did contribute to the Colts in the form of 28 catches for 250 yards and five touchdowns (three receiving, two rushing).

Following a breakout campaign in Philadelphia in 2017, Burton seemed like a rising star at tight end, offering the dynamic receiving ability stars like Travis Kelce and George Kittle do now. Unfortunately, once he signed with Chicago, Burton could never establish himself as a top-tier star and found himself back on the market after just two seasons with the Bears.

Certainly, the sheen of Burton’s star has worn off, but the value he can still add to a football team should not be diminished.

In his 2017 breakout season, Burton recorded 23 catches for 248 yards and five touchdowns—almost identical stats to his last season with the Colts (and in two more games in 2017). Importantly, Burton has not suffered any catastrophic injuries that would diminish his impressive athleticism either.

At 29 years old, Burton will not suddenly make another leap, but he is a solid complimentary piece at the tight end position. That kind of compliment is exactly what the Bengals lack in the tight end room.

C.J. Uzomah, the presumptive starter, had been carving out a nice role at the position, but Uzomah returns from a torn Achilles this season, so relying on him to maintain his athleticism would not be smart. In addition to Uzomah, Drew Sample is an adequate option at the tight end position, but he does not stretch defenses with speed or agility.

Burton could be the player in the Bengals’ tight end room that could stretch the field a bit more, playing a similar role to what he did in Indianapolis last season. Even after signing for the minimum with the Colts, Indy will likely move in a different direction given how Cox played to finish the year.

The Bengals could be the beneficiary of Burton’s return to the free-agent market if they wanted to make their receiving corps that much more dynamic.