4 tight ends the Bengals should target in 2022 offseason

Eric Bruns
C.J. Uzomah, Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
C.J. Uzomah, Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Free agency begins next week and one of the question marks for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2022 is who will be playing tight end. With C. J. Uzomah becoming an unrestricted free agent, the stripes need to decide who they want to add to their already potent offense.

They really have three options, which are to re-sign Uzomah, sign someone in free agency, or turn to the draft and bring the average age of the Bengals even younger. Two tight ends that I was going to write about previously were Mike Gesicki — who was franchise tagged by Miami — and David Njoku — who was tagged by Cleveland — so neither of these guys will appear on the list.

With the two best options at tight end off the board. The Bengals still have a plethora of available tight ends to choose from. Let’s start with the most obvious.

C. J. Uzomah

Why not just bring back C.J. Uzomah? Last season was the first time he played in every game since the 2018 season. It was also his best stat-wise with the only season that compared being his 2018 campaign.

He had almost 500 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Uzomah was never going to light the stats on fire. especially in an offense with Mixon, Higgins, Boyd, and now Chase. With those receivers, the Bengals will never be a tight-end heavy offense.

What Uzomah can bring to the Bengals — and he’s already displayed this — is leadership and a way to galvanize the team. His leadership played an integral part in the success of their playoff run. During that run, he seemed to become a fan favorite with his pep talks and leadership.

PFF ranks Uzomah as the ninth-best available tight end in free agency. They note that his 2021 campaign was impressive because he was able to still make some plays in a loaded offense. It is all that talent on offense that could prevent the Bengals from re-signing their former tight end.

"Keeping Uzomah around with major extensions looming for Chase and Higgins may be a bit of a challenge, but Cincinnati should be able to stagger cash/cap commitments for their offensive weapons over the next 3-5 years."

To re-sign with the Bengals, Uzomah may well have to take a pay cut, as he’s projected to earn $8.2 million annually according to Spotrac. However, maybe the Bengals are not interested in re-signing Uzomah at all. If they’re thinking about the future, they may want to go with a cheaper option.