Tyler Kroft will not be making a return from injury this season. The Bengals kept the tight end on their active roster in hopes he would be able to come back from his foot injury, but that won’t happen now.
The Bengals have been operating shorthanded at tight end for most of the season. Tyler Eifert has been on IR for weeks, while Kroft has been on the mend with a broken bone in his left foot. C.J. Uzomah‘s filled in as the starter, and that arrangement will continue.
While Kroft is expected to be healthy in time for free agency, this was not a good contract year. Kroft attempted to avoid surgery in order to play for a Bengals team contending for a playoff spot, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), but he’ll now be out. It appears likely a procedure will occur soon.
In 2017, Kroft stepped in for an injured Eifert and caught 42 passes for 404 yards and seven touchdowns — all far and away career-high marks. Other than his ’17 contributions, Kroft has not contributed much statistically since joining the Bengals as a 2015 third-round pick.
Both Kroft and Eifert are free agents in 2019. While another Eifert injury clouds his future with the team, Kroft sought an extension this summer. That did not end up coming to pass. Kroft caught just four passes this season.
A 2015 fifth-rounder, Uzomah is also a free agent at the year’s conclusion. So, the Bengals will have decisions to make at this position and won’t have much in the way of 2018 work samples on which to do so. Although, these next several games will be key for Uzomah in this regard.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.