Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is deciding whether to have the third back surgery of his career, sources tell Field Yates and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). If Eifert has the operation, it will end his season after just two appearances.
When healthy, Eifert is one of the NFL’s most dynamic tight ends. Unfortunately, his career has been marred by back, knee, and ankle problems. He missed half of the 2016 season and nearly all of the 2014 season due to injury. In 2015, when he appeared in all but three games, he caught 52 passes for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl selection.
The 27-year-old is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency next spring after his fifth-year option expires. The Bengals have not allowed a Pro Bowl player under the age of 32 to leave via free agency since 2011, but Eifert’s medical history likely prevented the two sides from agreeing to an extension over the summer.
With a productive and season, Eifert was likely looking at a multi-year deal with a $10MM+ average annual value. If his 2017 campaign ends here in October, he won’t come anywhere near those figures.
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