Tyler Eifert

GMs Expecting Active Trade Deadline

The NFL has experienced a dramatic rise in significant trades over the past several years, and there may be a few noteworthy swaps going down this month as we get closer to the October 29 trade deadline. Indeed, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says there is a sense among general managers that we may see more trades in advance of this year’s deadline than ever before, largely because there is a larger gulf between pretenders and contenders than in seasons past (indeed, there are still six winless teams, which is the highest number at this point in the season since the 1970 merger).

La Canfora says the teams most actively laying groundwork for potential deals are the Saints, Eagles, Ravens, Chiefs, Patriots, and Seahawks. Of course, a number of those clubs have already been pursuing Jacksonville CB Jalen Ramsey, and the Saints, Eagles, Ravens, and Chiefs are casting a wide net for cornerback upgrades.

One of this year’s still-winless clubs, the Broncos, are reportedly more open to moving veteran pieces than they were last year, as La Canfora writes in a separate piece, with Derek Wolfe, Chris Harris, and Emmanuel Sanders all generating interest. Wolfe could make sense for Baltimore, and the Saints are expected to renew their pursuit of Sanders. Even Von Miller could be on the block, per La Canfora, especially since all of his major bonuses and guarantees have already been paid. Miller, 30, is reportedly open to a change of scenery at this point, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says the Broncos will not trade him (video link). However, the other players mentioned above could be available if Denver continues to scuffle.

But while Denver may be willing to talk shop, rival GMs are skeptical that the 0-4 Bengals, led by old-school owner Mike Brown, will be amenable to moving big-name vets despite their fading fortunes. La Canfora’s sources say Cincinnati could net a first-round pick for WR A.J. Green if the acquiring club is able to work out a new contract with him as a condition of the trade (and if Green recovers from his foot injury soon). The Patriots and Saints could make a push for Green or Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, and Cincy could also swing deals for players like Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap if the club is willing to listen to offers.

Like fellow winless outfits Denver and Cincinnati, the Jets could be active in shopping veteran players in advance of the deadline. La Canfora specifically names Kelechi Osemele and Leonard Williams as players who could be on the move, though he says there has been no trade chatter surrounding Le’Veon Bell at this point.

Finally, though the 0-4 Redskins have been steadfastly refusing to trade Trent Williams, some believe that the team will relent at some point and will ship Williams to a contender in need of O-line help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Johnson, Tomlin, Bengals

The Browns refuse to grant Duke Johnson‘s request for a trade, but the running back is expected to show for OTAs, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. But the veteran Browns reporter notes Johnson was not on the field for the first session of Cleveland’s Tuesday workouts. Johnson, understandably, is concerned about his role behind rising star Nick Chubb and new pickup Kareem Hunt, although Hunt will be suspended for the first half of the season. The veteran passing-down back has drawn interest from other teams this offseason, but John Dorsey has insisted that Johnson is in the Browns’ 2019 plans. Despite Dorsey having parted ways with most of the players from previous regimes, he has kept Johnson around. The Dorsey regime extended Johnson in June of 2018. Three years remain on his deal.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • It does not appear the Steelers are having second thoughts about Mike Tomlin, with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac calling a Tomlin extension a “when, not if” situation. Two years remain on Tomlin’s deal, and the Steelers have made a habit of extending their coach when two years were left on previous contracts. Tomlin’s recent Steelers teams have either underachieved or were racked with turmoil, and Dulac adds it would not be unreasonable for Art Rooney II to table an extension for a year. However, Tomlin will likely receive a notable raise because of recent deals handed out to John Harbaugh ($9MM per year), Jon Gruden ($10MM AAV) and Pete Carroll (nearly $11MM annually), Dulac notes. Entering his 13th year with the Steelers, Tomlin is believed to earn just more than $7MM per year.
  • Darqueze Dennard will not participate in near-future Bengals workouts due to having undergone knee surgery earlier this offseason. The operation occurred between the time Dennard re-signed with the Bengals and their offseason program, and Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com notes the team was aware the cornerback needed this arthroscopic procedure done upon re-signing him. The current hope is the slot corner returns for Cincinnati’s minicamp next month.
  • Conversely, Tyler Eifert has been participating in the Bengals’ offseason activities thus far. The injury-prone (perhaps putting it mildly) tight end said he’s “doing pretty much everything” during Bengals workouts, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Eifert’s latest injury interruption came when he suffered an ugly broken ankle early last season. He underwent surgery in October. Despite the spree of setbacks, the former first-round pick stands to be (if healthy) the Bengals’ top receiving tight end.
  • Third-year Bengals defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow expects to be cleared to return by training camp, Dehner adds. The 2017 fourth-round pick tore his ACL in Week 3 of last season. Pro Football Focus offered a strong endorsement of Glasgow’s brief 2018 work sample, though it was cut short after just 92 snaps.
  • The Steelers waived offensive lineman R.J. Prince on Monday. He cleared waivers but has a Ravens workout scheduled for Wednesday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. A 2018 UDFA, Prince spent time on Pittsburgh’s practice squad last season.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Contract Details: Ingram, Suggs, Kendricks

Here are the latest details from some agreed-upon contracts during the second wave of free agency. All links courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, unless otherwise noted.

Bengals Re-Sign TE Tyler Eifert

Tyler Eifert is sticking in Cincy. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the tight end is signing a one-year deal with the Bengals.

The 2013 first-round pick has spent his entire six-year career with the Bengals, and he’s been productive… when healthy. Eifert has only appeared in 13 or more games twice in his career, and he’s totaled only 14 contests over the past three years. The 28-year-old missed the majority of the 2017 season after undergoing both back and knee surgery, and a broken ankle limited him to only four games in 2018.

When Eifert’s been healthy, he’s been especially productive in the red zone. He had a breakout season in 2015 when he had 615 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. He was even productive in his four games in 2018, hauling in 15 receptions for 179 yards and one touchdown. If the tight end is able to stay on the field, he’ll provide Andy Dalton with another target; the Bengals’ offense currently features running backs Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard as well as wideouts A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and John Ross.

Besides Eifert, the Bengals currently have five tight ends on their roster. This grouping includes former fifth-rounder C.J. Uzomah, who finished last season with 43 receptions for 439 yards and three scores.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Place Tyler Eifert On IR

Vontaze Burfict is back. On Friday, the Bengals activated the linebacker and formally placed tight end Tyler Eifert on injured reserve. 

Burfict was suspended for the first four weeks of the season thanks to a PED suspension. He’s no stranger to bans, having drawn multiple punishments from the league office for violating safety rules, but this was his first for banned performance enhancers. Over the last five years, he’s missed 32 regular season games thanks to injuries and suspensions. Despite it all, Burfict remains one of the very best linebackers in the NFL. In 2017, Burfict managed 69 tackles and 1.5 sacks in ten games.

Eifert has also missed a boatload of time over the last five years, playing in just 28 regular season games out of a possible 80. His latest injury, a broken ankle, will rule him out for the remainder of the year.

It’s yet another tough blow for Eifert, who is one of the league’s most talented tight ends. Before he exited the Bengals’ game against the Falcons, Eifert was displaying some of his old form and had four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown. Through four games, the former first-rounder had 15 grabs for 179 yards in total.

The oft-injured Eifert re-signed with the Bengals this offseason on a one-year, $5.5MM deal. When he hits free agency in March, he’ll likely be looking at yet another one-year platform deal, perhaps with less in base compensation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert Carted Off Field

UPDATE: Eifert suffered a broken ankle and will undergo surgery, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). It will end the tight end’s season.

Tyler Eifert‘s hopes for a comeback season took a major hit on Sunday afternoon. The Bengals tight end suffered a lower right leg injury during today’s game against the Falcons. D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution described the injury as “horrific” while NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that it was “gruesome.”

The tight end had hauled in four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown up to that point, and he was injured following a tackle by Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. Eifert was ultimately carted off the field with his right ankle in an aircast. Dr. David J. Chao (otherwise known as the Pro Football Doc) tweets that the injury is a definite season-ender, and it will require surgery. However, Chao cautions that the injury can’t be attributed to Eifert’s continuous injury issues, and he doesn’t believe it will end the 28-year-old’s career.

It’s a tough blow for Eifert, who has continually battled injury problems throughout his career. Since the beginning of the 2014 season, the tight end has missed 40 total regular season games, and he’s struggled through back, ankle, and elbow ailments. The former first-rounder had appeared in the Bengals’ first three games this season, hauling in 11 receptions for 141 yards. His best season came back in 2015, when he caught 13 touchdowns in 13 games.

Assuming Eifert is out for the foreseeable future, the Bengals will be forced to lean on their other tight ends. C.J. Uzomah will continue to sit atop the depth chart, and the team could also turn to Tyler Kroft and Mason Schreck.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Eifert, Browns, DeCastro

Despite being one of the NFL’s biggest injury risks, Tyler Eifert returned to the Bengals this offseason. The team that used a first-round pick on the former Notre Dame tight end has a plan for trying to prevent another significant setback, though. The Bengals are going to try to limit Eifert’s snaps, Marvin Lewis said (via Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer). Since Eifert’s Pro Bowl 2015 season, he’s played in only 11 games. With Eifert being most effective in the red zone (20 career touchdown receptions, 19 from inside the 20, per Dehner), that will surely be a place the Bengals try to deploy the sixth-year pass-catcher. But Lewis identifies Eifert as the team’s best blocking tight end, too. Eifert averaged 58 snaps per game during the 2015 season. Lewis doesn’t envision his starting tight end getting there again.

Well I hope he never gets 50,” Lewis said. “It’s a plan thing. There are certain things (OC Bill Lazor) is going to plan to do with him on the field, both runs and passes. I think that and then using him as a decoy at times to help open up other things for the other guys.”

This plan may limit Eifert financially. He has $3MM tied up in performance incentives, ones that will become difficult to reach if the Bengals place heavy restrictions on his usage. He played 23 snaps against the Colts.

Here’s the latest from the AFC North:

  • Emmanuel Ogbah‘s run into injury trouble again. Hue Jackson didn’t believe the third-year edge defender suffered a high ankle sprain but said (via ohio.com’s Nate Ulrich) it was “something like that” and that Ogbah will miss time. Chris Smith entered the fray as Myles Garrett‘s sidekick following Ogbah’s first-quarter injury and should be expected to start Sunday against the Saints. Recent waiver claim Anthony Zettel should have a role, too, Pat McManamon of ESPN.com notes. Ogbah saw a foot injury halt his momentum last year and end his season. His development was part of the reason the Browns selected Denzel Ward over Bradley Chubb.
  • The Browns‘ left tackle position contributed to several NFL news cycles this offseason, due to Joe Thomas‘ retirement and the layered search for his replacement. But Jackson insists no change will commence between Week 1 and Week 2. Desmond Harrison will remain the Browns’ left tackle, per Jackson (via the Lorain Morning Journal’s Jeff Schudel, on Twitter). The rookie UDFA made the start, despite Greg Robinson and 2018 second-round pick Austin Corbett residing on the roster. Pro Football Focus graded Harrison as the second-worst full-time tackle in his debut, and Rotoworld’s Evan Silva adds (on Twitter) Harrison allowed the most hurries of any lineman last week.
  • Kenneth Dixon suffered a knee injury in the Ravens‘ blowout win in Buffalo, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com expects (Twitter link) it to keep him out for several weeks. Dixon scored a touchdown against the Bills after missing the entire 2017 season. Buck Allen should move into the role of Alex Collins‘ backup for the time being.
  • David DeCastro fractured his hand on Sunday, and Mike Tomlin said this could limit him going forward. But the veteran Steelers blocker expects to play Sunday against the Chiefs, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Bengals’ Tyler Eifert Passes Physical

Great news for the Bengals. Tight end Tyler Eifert has passed his physical and has been removed from the offseason PUP list, the team announced on Monday. 

Eifert has been recovering from back surgery and his status for training camp was unclear. During voluntary offseason team activities, he was limited in his participation, but it sounds like he’s on the right track for summer practices and playing in Week 1.

When he’s on the field, Eifert is among the best tight ends in the game. Unfortunately, injuries have defined his career. The 2015 Pro Bowler has missed 51% of the Bengals’ regular season games since 2013. He missed 14 games last season and eight in 2016.

In March, Eifert re-signed with the Bengals for $5.5MM on a one-year deal. Needless to say, this is a pivotal season for Eifert’s future with the Bengals and his overall future in the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tyler Eifert Uncertain For Training Camp

Although Tyler Eifert received medical clearance early in the offseason, the Bengals are holding the recently re-signed tight end out of minicamp this week. And Marvin Lewis isn’t sure if that setup will change once the team reconvenes in late July for training camp.

Lewis said, via Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, he doesn’t know if Eifert is going to be back by the time training camp begins. He’s recovering from back surgery after back problems defined a second straight season. Eifert was a limited OTAs participant.

The Bengals’ working out at Paul Brown Stadium could be a factor here. Lewis said the field being redone earlier this month has affected how the team is proceeding with Eifert. It can be expected that Eifert, who re-signed with Cincinnati for $5.5MM on a one-year deal, will return to work at training camp. It’s just not known if the sixth-year tight end will do so from the outset.

There’s no reason to get him jostled,” Lewis said. “Just ease his way into things. No setback. We’re trying to make sure we manage everything they want him to do.”

Health’s obviously been the defining component in Eifert’s NFL career, and he’s at a career crossroads because of it. The 2015 Pro Bowler has missed 51 percent of the regular-season games during his Bengals run. He missed 14 games last season and eight in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Packers, Q. Diggs, Conner

We heard last month that the Packers would be going “back to Page 1” of their playbook, but as Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal writes, Green Bay is not going to be making any wholesale changes to its offense. In light of all of the new voices on the offensive side of the ball this year — Joe Philbin is back as OC, Frank Cignetti Jr. is in as quarterbacks coach, and there are several other staff changes besides — it made sense for all involved to thoroughly review the team’s play design and philosophy. But as Philbin said, “It’s been a process of refining, enhancing, tweaking, as opposed to, ‘Yeah we scrubbed it down.’ Yes, we went page by page. (But) we’re not starting from scratch here. These players in that locker room, they’ve done some great things.” 

Philbin, of course, is primarily referring to star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers indicated that verbiage has changed — and Philbin acknowledged that such changes were made in order to streamline the playcalling — and that has created something of a learning curve. But passing game Jim Hostler said that the goal is for the offense to look the same as it always has with Rodgers under center, even if there are some refinements and enhancements here and there.

Now for more from the league’s north divisions:

  • Opposing defenses were already treating Packers WR Davante Adams as the team’s No. 1 wideout last season, so the departure of Jordy Nelson will not represent much of a change in that regard, as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com writes. But Green Bay has not (yet) signed a veteran wideout to replace Nelson, so Adams will need to take on a more active role in terms of leadership. The Packers drafted three receivers this year — one each in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds — and return 24-year-old Geronimo Allison as the presumed No. 3 WR on the depth chart, so Adams is suddenly the second-oldest player in the wide receiver room. He was not present for the start of OTAs, which caused some concern in light of his concussion history, but neither player nor team seem concerned about his availability. Head coach Mike McCarthy simply said Adams is “battling a couple things,” presumably minor injuries.
  • Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com says Quandre Diggs has a real chance to permanently supplant Tavon Wilson as the Lions‘ starting strong safety in 2018. Diggs, a former sixth-round selection, played well in that role last season, and Rothstein suggests he may even be the favorite to start at this point. Miles Killebrew, a former fourth-round choice, appears to be on the outside looking in and may need to continue to stand out on special teams to retain his roster spot.
  • James Conner, a feel-good story and 2017 third-round choice, is featuring prominently in Steelers‘ OTAs due to Le’Veon Bell‘s continued absence, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes. Conner showed flashes in his rookie campaign, which ended with a Week 15 MCL tear, but if he can cement himself as the team’s No. 2 back behind Bell this season — and he will need to improve in pass protection in order to do so — that could be the first step towards a starting job in 2019, depending on Bell’s contract situation.
  • John Ross is once again a full participant in the Bengals‘ OTAs, as Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer observes. Although Ross dropped a few passes, he also made some difficult grabs and is seeing a lot of passes come his way. Tyler Eifert, meanwhile, is a limited participant, but having both players involved at the beginning of full team work is a beautiful thing for Cincinnati fans.
  • Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague.com (via Twitter) details a few more changes to the Browns‘ scouting department that were not covered several days ago.