Eifert's (ankle) one-year contract with Cincinnati includes a $1.2 million signing bonus and $1 million base salary, along with $1.3 million in per-game roster bonuses and up to $2.5 million in incentives, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.
The unusual breakdown makes sense given that Eifert has played just six games the past two years and 43 total through six NFL seasons. It also makes sense for the Bengals to invest in another option at tight end, with C.J. Uzomah landing a three-year, $18.3 million contract that includes $6.25 million fully guaranteed (per overthecap.com). While history suggests he'll have a tough time staying on the field, Eifert does seem to be on track for some level of involvement in the offseason program, as he resumed jogging by early January and was doing agility work by the end of February. None of that should come as a surprise given that he's now more than five months removed from Sept. 30 ankle surgery with an estimated recovery timeline of 4-to-5 months. Eifert owns career marks of 12.1 yards per catch and 8.4 per target, with 21 touchdowns on 142 receptions -- per-play efficiency has never been the problem.
The Bengals opted to bring two of their three free agent TEs back this offseason, coming to terms with C.J. Uzomah on Monday, followed by a one-year offer to Eifert just five days later. While the former appears to be a larger part of the Bengals future given the three-year, $18 million contract, Eifert's injury history has understandably resulted in a second straight one-year contract. Given the 28-year-old has played in just six games over the course of the past two seasons, it's quite possible Uzomah might even be the favorite to start the season, particularly if Eifert's rehabilitation from October ankle surgery takes longer than expected.
Eifert (ankle) tweeted a video of himself doing ladder drills Thursday.
The video leaves no doubt Eifert has made significant progress since early January, at which point he was limited to jogging for about 20 minutes at a time. He's now progressed to lateral movements and agility work, potentially setting the stage for participation in OTAs as he prepares to become an unrestricted free agent for the second straight offseason. Eifert's recovery timetable was estimated at 4-to-5 months after he had surgery Sept. 30 to address a broken right ankle he suffered Week 4. The 28-year-old tight end has played 43 games through six NFL seasons, including just six appearances over the past two years.
Since joining the Bengals as a first-round pick in 2013, Eifert has only played in double-digit games in a given season twice in six chances. Serious injuries have been the common denominator, including a broken right ankle that limited him to four appearances in 2018. Eifert enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent for a second straight year, but with a changing of the guard at head coach for the first time since 2003, the Bengals may opt to move on from the 28-year-old tight end. For his career, he's earned 37 red-zone targets and scored 21 touchdowns in 43 games, so bounce-back potential is evident wherever he lands.
The transaction was inevitable after Eifert underwent season-ending surgery Monday to address a broken right ankle. The injury is expected to sideline Eifert for 4-to-5 months, suggesting the impending free agent may not be back to full strength by the time teams begin OTAs. While Eifert is out, the Bengals are expected to proceed with C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Kroft as their primary options at tight end.
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|