Kroft opened the offseason as Eifert's backup, but due to the latter's ankle surgery, will take the starting reins for the time being. Eifert's recovery is projected to take three months, signifying an expected mid-to-late August return. If that timetable holds true, Kroft will see added reps in training camp and the preseason, which could equate to extra time during the regular season. Additionally, if Eifert's recovery time extends beyond initial estimates, then the Rutgers product figures to open the season as the starter, which should result in increased production for the second-year tight end. Kroft stepped in to the starting lineup near the end of 2015 when the veteran starter missed time with a neck injury and a concussion, and parlayed the opportunity into 11 receptions on 14 targets for 129 yards and a touchdown.
Eifert, who will undergo ankle surgery Wednesday, could potentially miss the first couple games of the upcoming NFL season, ESPN.com reports.
Such a scenario remains speculative at this stage, given initial estimates relayed by the Cincinnati Enquirer that "a three-month recovery is anticipated, which puts Eifert's return to the field sometime in August." On the plus side, Eifert's upcoming surgery has been referred to as a "minimal procedure," so it's a little too early to count out the tight end for the Bengals' regular season opener on Sept. 11 against the Jets.
Although the surgery isn't considered overly serious, Eifert will presumably miss most or all of training camp, with his Week 1 status now in serious question. He suffered the injury at the Pro Bowl on Jan. 31, but the
The Cincinnati Bengals have agreed to terms with undrafted free agent Matt Johnson, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
Though undrafted, Johnson is a highly decorated prospect out of Bowling Green. He broke Ben Roethlisberger's MAC single-season record with 4,946 passing yards in 2015 along with the MAC record for touchdown passes in a season with 46. This senior-year effort earned Johnson both the Sammy Baugh Award for the nation's best quarterback and the title of MAC Offensive Player of the Year. As the best developmental quarterback in this year's draft according to Pro Football Focus, Johnson will compete with Keith Wenning for a third-string role behind starter Andy Dalton and backup AJ McCarron.
The Cincinnati Bengals have agreed to terms with undrafted free agent Alex Erickson, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
The former walk-on and captain of the Wisconsin Badgers caught 77 passes for 978 yards and three touchdowns as a senior to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors by the media. He wasn't invited to any postseason all-star games, nor the combine, but likely punched his ticket to the NFL with a relatively impressive showing at UW's Pro Day, clocking a 4.44 40-yard dash and 3.88 20-yard shuttle. Erickson has drawn optimistic comparisons to New England's Julian Edelman, and will have an outside chance of making the team due to the Bengals' lack of proven contributors at receiver behind A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell.