Tyler Eifert

Extra Points: Freeman, Broncos, Mack, Eifert

The Broncos have authored one of their worst modern-era stretches over the past five weeks, with now both their offense and defense struggling. John Elway lobbed some criticism at the team he put together.

I think we got a little bit soft. To be dead honest with you, we got a little bit soft,” the Broncos GM said, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “We went 4-0 in preseason; we started out 3-1; we get a bye week, and if you exhale in this league, you’re in trouble. To be dead honest with you, I think we exhaled and it’s hard to recover from that.”

However, the seventh-year front office leader offered support for Vance Joseph despite the first-year coach having the Broncos in danger of their first sub-.500 season in seven years. The Broncos’ schedule eases up after the Chiefs-Eagles-Patriots gauntlet, with the Bengals making a trip to Denver in on Sunday, but Joseph may profile as a one-and-done candidate if this pace continues. The Broncos have lost all five games by at least 10 points. Elway threw some cold water on that prospect, though.

There’s going to be growing pains as a head coach, especially as a first-year head coach (and) we got a lot of youth on staff when it comes to coordinators, too,” Elway said. “So there’s growing pains there. Just like with players, we have to give them a chance to grow and get better and learn from certain situations. Vance, in my mind, is doing just fine and continues to get these guys to play hard and the energy is still there. So we’ll work our way through.”

Here’s the latest from around the league going into Week 11 Sunday.

  • Devonta Freeman has been ruled out for Monday night’s Falcons-Seahawks game. This wasn’t a surprise given the star running back’s concussion history. He suffered a second concussion of the season against the Cowboys. Tevin Coleman will start.
  • Reggie McKenzie wants to sign Khalil Mack to an extension next year, and the cornerstone Raiders defender has no problem with that. Mack does not seem interested in exploring a potential path elsewhere down the line. “Of course; that’s not even a question,” Mack said, via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Fallon Smith, about wanting to stay with the Raiders for the rest of his career. “That’s a no-brainer for me, especially when you think about coming into this organization and try to build something special, that’s something you want to be a part of for a lifetime.” Given his age (26), durability, production history and the fact Von Miller‘s extension occurred during the 2016 league year, Mack is a mortal lock to become a $20MM-per-year defender and surpass his fellow AFC West pass-rushing dynamo in that department. Mack’s under contract through 2018 via fifth-year option.
  • In addition to the back surgery Tyler Eifert underwent, the impending UFA tight end had a knee procedure done recently, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). This was not a major operation, with Graziano noting it was for a cyst that had developed on the Bengals pass-catcher’s knee. Eifert is out for the season and will profile as one of the more interesting UFAs due to his injury history and high-ceiling production when healthy.
  • The Jaguars will be without two starting offensive linemen on Sunday in Cleveland. Both Jermey Parnell and Patrick Omameh are out and didn’t travel with the team to northeast Ohio. This will be Parnell’s second straight absence due to a knee injury. A quadriceps injury will sideline Omameh, who’s worked as Jacksonville’s starting left guard throughout the season. The Jags have 10 offensive linemen on their active roster, so they’re prepared to handle the first-unit cogs’ absences.

Latest On Bengals TE Tyler Eifert

Tyler Eifert‘s season is over. But the good news is that he should be able to pick up where he left off in the spring. Doctors have told the Bengals tight end that he should be fully heathy without any further issues in the offseason, as Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweetsTyler Eifert (vertical)

Eifert will become a free agent in March when his fifth-year option expires and his health will largely determine his future. When he’s on the field, Eifert is among the league’s most dangerous pass-catchers. However, he has played in just ten total games over the last two seasons. His back surgery earlier this month marked the third of his career.

Prior to his season-ending injury, Eifert had a chance at becoming the league’s highest-paid tight end in 2018, but any real chance of that is out the window. He’ll likely opt for a one-year pillow contract over a mid-range multi-year deal with the hope that he can make the big bucks in 2019. If he can get through workouts without setbacks, then he’ll make a nice chunk of change on that platform contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert Done For Season

Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert has decided to undergo season-ending back surgery, as first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Eifert went under the knife on Thursday for an operation that will sideline him for four-to-six months. The Bengals have officially placed Eifert on injured reserve.Tyler Eifert (Vertical)

Eifert, of course, is no stranger to injury, as he’s appeared in only 39 of a possible 69 games since entering the NFL as a first-round pick in 2013. His history of back ailments dates back to the latter part of the 2016 campaign — after missing the first seven games of last year with an ankle issue suffered in the Pro Bowl, Eifert was placed on injured reserve in December after experiencing back pain.

This latest back issue is reportedly not the same one that bothered Eifert near the tail end of last season, but it will likely affect contractual negotiations with the Bengals nonetheless. Scheduled to become a free agent next spring when his fifth-year option expires, Eifert will now hit the open market amidst a sea of health questions. A long-term deal is still possible, but it seems incredibly unlikely that Cincinnati would now deploy the franchise tag — at a cost north of $10MM — on Eifert.

When on the field, Eifert is clearly one of the more dynamic tight ends in the league. In his best season to date (2015), Eifert appeared in 13 games and managed 52 receptions for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns. That type of production puts Eifert among elite tight end company, but his availability concerns are sure to reduce his market.

The Bengals will go forward with Tyler Kroft, C.J. Uzomah, and Cethan Carter at tight end, while H-back Ryan Hewitt can also play the position. If Cincinnati wants to pursue an outside addition, free agent tight ends include Gary Barnidge, Larry Donnell, Ladarius Green, and Jacob Tamme.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert Done For Year?

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.Tyler Eifert (Vertical)

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Eifert, Edelman, Charles

Let’s take a quick swing around the AFC as the early afternoon slate of games gets underway:

  • Bengals TE Tyler Eifert‘s most recent injury has further clouded his free agent case, as Paul Dehner, Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Eifert, who is in a contract year, is again experiencing back problems, and it is uncertain when he will return to the field. As Dehner observes, the Notre Dame product is in something of a catch-22. He either suits up at less than full health, which could hurt his performance and therefore his next contract, or he could wait until he is 100% healthy but not be on the field at all, thereby reinforcing his injury-prone reputation. Dehner says the franchise tag could still be in play for Cincinnati, as it would come at a relative bargain ($9-10MM) considering Eifert’s ability, but even a one-year deal at that value might be too much for the Bengals to stomach in light of Eifert’s health concerns. He may ultimately have to settle for a one-year “prove-it” deal to reestablish his value in 2018.
  • Julian Edelman underwent surgery to repair his torn right ACL within the past week, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Reiss adds that everything went according to plan for the Patriots wideout, who expects to return at full strength in 2018.
  • Jamaal Charles had his best game with the Broncos last week, rushing nine times for 56 yards and a score, and his surprising success, along with the imminent return of Devontae Booker, have created a good problem for the Broncos, as Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post writes. Denver OC Mike McCoy said all three of his top backs — C.J. Anderson, Charles, and Booker — will get their fair share of reps, and there will not be a set number of carries for any of them.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says Ravens RB Alex Collins will get an increased workload in the team’s contest against the Steelers today. Collins, who was promoted off Baltimore’s taxi squad several weeks ago, has looked like the most explosive back on the roster in his limited reps, so he will get an opportunity to show what he can do in a more featured role.

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert To Miss Time

Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is expected to miss “multiple weeks” as he recovers from a back injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). On a positive note, Eifert won’t require surgery for his ailing back, per Schefter.Tyler Eifert (Vertical)

Eifert, of course, is no stranger to injury, as he’s appeared in only 39 of a possible 67 games since entering the NFL as a first-round pick in 2013. His back ailment dates back to the latter part of the 2016 campaign — after missing the first seven games of last year with an ankle issue suffered in the Pro Bowl, Eifert was placed on injured reserve in December after experiencing back pain.

The Bengals were without Eifert in Sunday’s loss to the Packers, and will go forward with internal options Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah, while fullbacks Ryan Hewitt and Cethan Carter are also capable of playing tight end. Cincinnati faces the division-rival (and similarly winless) Browns in Week 4, then takes on the Bills before a Week 6 bye.

Eifert, 27, is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency next spring after his fifth-year option expires.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Vikings, Bradford, Dolphins

Depending on how rehab on his knee goes, the Vikings believe Sam Bradford can return next week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (on Twitter). The quarterback is believed to have a bone bruise, a source tells NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). The plan for right now is to see how his knee responds to an injection this week and then take from there.

On Sunday, the Case Keenum-led Vikings lost badly in Pittsburgh, so the team is hoping to get its best QB back on the field in time for the home contest against Tampa Bay.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Dolphins filed a missing persons report on linebacker Lawrence Timmons when he went AWOL on Saturday, according to TMZ. The police found Timmons at LAX on early Sunday morning as he was looking to board a flight to Pennsylvania. At that point, a team employee met him at the airport and traveled with him. TMZ hears that Timmons was going to Pennsylvania to meet with a child of his and her mother.
  • Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower’s MCL injury was diagnosed as the 2-3 week variety by two different doctors, Rapoport tweets. The key Pats defender should be back either this week or next based on that timeframe. Problems with his right knee forced Hightower to start training camp on the PUP list and he was forced out of the season opener after aggravating it. Hightower earned his first Pro Bowl nod in 2016 and re-upped with the Pats this offseason on a four-year deal that could pay him as much as $43.5MM.
  • Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is battling back and knee injuries and his status for Sunday’s game against Green Bay is uncertain, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). For now, it doesn’t seem like a long-term issue, but it’s a situation worth monitoring given Eifert’s previous health troubles.
  • Punter Matt Darr worked out for the Bills and agent Brett Tessler (on Twitter) claims that it went very well. Darr had a 46-yard career average before his release from Miami earlier this month.

No Deal For Bengals, Tyler Eifert

Although the league does not impose a deadline for non-franchised-tagged players to sign a multiyear extension with their club, the Bengals impose a “soft” deadline to get such extensions done. That deadline is the day before the regular season opens, and as Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes, it has come and gone without a new deal for the Bengals and tight end Tyler Eifert, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency next year.

Tyler Eifert (Vertical)

We heard back in July that the extension cases for Eifert and LB Vontaze Burfict were difficult to analyze, for a number of reasons. However, the club was able to reach a three-year deal with Burfict several days ago, despite that fact that he will be suspended for the first three games of the 2017 season.

Eifert, when healthy, is one of the best tight ends in the game, and he just turned 27 two days ago. Under the fifth-year player option, Eifert will earn $4.782MM in 2017, and per Owczarski, Cincinnati is not opposed to using the franchise tag on him next season if he produces the way he did in 2015, when he hauled in 52 catches for 615 yards and a whopping 13 touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl selection. The tag number for tight ends next season is projected to be right around $10MM, which sounds fairly reasonable for a player of Eifert’s caliber.

That would make Eifert close to the highest-paid tight end in the game in terms of average annual value. Seattle’s Jimmy Graham currently leads all tight ends in AAV, as he earns $10MM per season, though two of Eifert’s 2011 draft classmates, Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and Washington’s Jordan Reed, are not far behind, and both of them top Graham in terms of total contract value. Considering Reed’s injury history, Eifert could certainly point to Reed’s deal (five years, $46.75MM with $14MM guaranteed) as a reasonable benchmark for his own contract.

Eifert’s injury history could complicate matters, although both sides want to get a deal done. If Eifert can stay on the field for all of 2017, there is a good chance that the two sides can agree to a long-term deal next offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bills, Steelers, Bengals

The Bills sent big-money defensive tackle Marcell Dareus home before their preseason game against the Ravens last week after he violated a team rule, leaving general manager Brandon Beane unsure if the two-time Pro Bowler is part of the solution. Asked this week if Dareus is on board with what the team is trying to build, Beane told Joe Buscaglia of WKBW (via Mark Inabinett of AL.com): “I don’t know. Time will tell. It was disappointing, as I said, after that game. He was contrite yesterday and said the right things. Actions speak louder than words. Time will tell. Hopefully, he is. We hope he’ll play to his potential. We know what kind of player he can be. We hope to see that on the field.” Even if the Bills are fed up with Dareus, who has multiple suspensions on his resume, moving on from the cornerstone defender in the near future would be extremely difficult because of the structure of his contract. The Bills inked Dareus to a six-year, $91.5MM extension in September 2015.

More from two other AFC cities:

  • The Steelers expect the NFL to fully reinstate wide receiver Martavis Bryant in advance of Week 1, GM Kevin Colbert told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette (Twitter link). The league suspended Bryant for all of last season for repeated violations of its substance abuse policy, conditionally reinstated the 25-year-old in April and gave him clearance to participate in the preseason three weeks ago. He hasn’t appeared in a meaningful game since a playoff loss to the Broncos on Jan. 17, 2016.
  • Cornerback Joe Haden‘s $5.75MM signing bonus is the only guaranteed portion of the three-year, $27MM contract the Steelers gave him Wednesday, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. The pact includes base salaries of $1.25MM, $9MM and $10MM, and it comes with a $1MM roster bonus that’s due in March 2018.
  • Linebacker Vontaze Burfict‘s suspensions call his future with the Bengals into question, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com observes. Burfict is set to serve a three-game ban for the second straight campaign, and he has only played 58 of a possible 80 regular-season contests in his five-year career. Cincinnati’s going to have to consider Burfict’s lack of availability when deciding whether to re-sign him by next winter, then. The same goes for tight end Tyler Eifert, whom injuries have limited to 37 of a possible 64 games during his four seasons. Both players make the Bengals better when they’re on the field, which Terrell notes will make for tough decisions in each case.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Osweiler, Hali

Tyler Eifert and Vontaze Burfict are both entering their contract seasons, and while the Bengals have not allowed a Pro Bowl player to leave via free agency who is under the age of 32 since 2011, both players present unique considerations. Both are justified in aiming to be paid at the top of the pay scale for their respective positions, but Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer says Burfict, because of his injury history and run-ins with the league’s player safety rules, is more likely to receive a contract like Dont’a Hightower‘s (four years, $35.5MM with $17MM in guarantees) than Luke Kuechly‘s (five years, $61.8MM with $34MM in guarantees). Also, given Hightower’s difficult time in free agency this season, it is unclear whether Burfict will want to try his luck on the open market.

Eifert’s own injury history could hinder his financial prospects, though league sources indicate he is in line for a five-year pact with an AAV of roughly $9MM. Unlike Burfict, however, the franchise tag is an option for Eifert if the two sides cannot hammer out a long-term deal this year, although both parties are motivated to get something done.

Now for more from the AFC:

  • Brock Osweiler apparently still has a chance to start for the Browns in Week 1. Although Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer are considered the most likely candidates to open the season under center, a lot will depend on Kizer’s development. As Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes, if Kizer does not develop as anticipated during training camp — he has progressed well to this point, but things can always change when the pads are on — then Osweiler could reenter the mix as a challenger to Kessler.
  • Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich is entering his contract year, but at this point, he does not foresee himself playing for anyone other than New England, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Ninkovich was drafted by the Saints in the fifth round of the 2006 draft and spent several years with the Dolphins, but his career did not blossom until he signed with the Pats in 2009. Since 2010, he has posted at least four sacks per season as a versatile defensive end/linebacker, including three consecutive eight-sack seasons from 2012-14. He is so grateful for his time in New England that, when asked if he could envision himself playing for another club, he said, “I wouldn’t do that.”
  • Tamba Halis Twitter rant last night drew quite a bit of attention, but the Chiefs linebacker says he is not considering holding out and he has not been told he is not in the team’s 2017 plans. He said he simply wants to play more (Twitter link). Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star says (via Twitter) that Hali did address the matter internally back in January, and he was told by head coach Andy Reid to just “keep getting better.” That obviously did not sit well with Hali, who apparently stewed about it for some time before unleashing a bit last night.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union wonders what, if anything, Trai Turner‘s recent four-year, $45MM extension could mean for Jaguars center Brandon Linder, who was drafted one spot behind Turner in the 2014 draft. Linder started his career at right guard but was moved to center last season after missing 13 games due to a shoulder injury in 2015. He has missed 15 total games in his career, and it sounds as if Jacksonville will simply allow him to play out his contract because of that injury history. If contract talks do commence this year, it will be interesting to see if Linder gets paid like a center or if he receives a deal that suggests he could return to right guard in the future.