While Tyler Eifert has been one of the most injury-riddled players in the NFL over the past few seasons, he may still have an avenue back to Cincinnati. The Bengals may be able to bring him back on a cheaper, incentive-laden deal than the one he signed last year, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Eifert decided between the Bengals and Rams last year, and with Zac Taylor coming from Los Angeles to Cincinnati, he may view Eifert as a possible target. Eifert received more than $4MM last year but did not trigger any performance incentives. The 28-year-old tight end posted a workout video on Twitter recently, showing he has made significant strides since breaking his ankle last season. Eifert, though, has missed an astounding 34 games since his 2015 Pro Bowl season. His previous backups, Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah, are also free agents. So, the Bengals will have to make a few moves to solidify this position this offseason. Jared Cook, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jeff Heuerman highlight a thin tight end free agent group.
Here is the latest from southwest Ohio:
- The Bengals are interested in giving Saints defensive assistant Michael Hodges a promotion. The team submitted a request to interview Hodges for its vacant linebackers coach position, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio tweets. A two-year New Orleans staffer, Hodges primarily works under Mike Nolan in working with linebackers. Nolan and Saints DC Dennis Allen were linked to the Bengals’ now-filled DC job, but the franchise clearly likes what the Saints have done to revamp their defense. The Bengals were also interested in Chargers assistant defensive line coach Eric Henderson, a Bengal from 2006-08, but he accepted a job with the Rams instead, Marvez adds (via Twitter).
- While the Bengals have a new coaching staff, which is still being filled out, their front office remains unchanged. That will mean a similar approach in free agency. The Bengals are not expected to be players for big-name UFAs, Dehner notes. Cincinnati is one of the more conservative franchises on this front, but Dehner does expect more roster changes than the team has seen in recent years. This may mean being connected to second-tier free agents. With a new coach in place for the first time since 2003, that can be assumed.
- Cordy Glenn and Billy Price came in last year to fill spots on Cincinnati’s offensive line, but the team is still expected to pursue upgrades — either through free agency or the draft — for the right side of the front, Dehner notes. The Bengals’ 2015 draft choices of Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher did not end up working out. The former never found his footing and the latter started just one game in 2018. Taylor coached Ja’Wuan James with the 2015 Dolphins, potentially creating a possible landing spot for the UFA right tackle. However, Dehner expects the team select a right tackle with one of its first two picks.