NFL free agency grades: Tyler Eifert returning to Bengals on a 1-year deal

Mandatory Credit: Nick Cammett-Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Nick Cammett-Getty Images /

Superbly talented but extremely injury-prone tight end Tyler Eifert has re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals on a one year “prove it” deal.

Tyler Eifert arrived to much fanfare in the NFL when he was drafted No. 21 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals out of Notre Dame in 2014.

If you ignore the injury history, there is not much to dislike about Eifert. He’s 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds with good hands, and he ran a 4.68 40-yard dash at the combine. He also has an incredible knack for getting open in the red zone. During his lone pro bowl season in 2015, Eifert grabbed 13 touchdowns in just 13 games. Even more incredibly, 11 of those touchdowns came on just 15 targets in the red zone! That is incredible production.

Unfortunately, you cannot talk about Eifert without also looking at the numerous season-ending injuries.

In Eifert’s five years in the league, three of them ended with him playing less than eight games, including two in which he played less than three. After a relatively durable 2013 rookie campaign, the wheels began to fall off. In 2014, he suffered a dislocated elbow in the season opener which landed him on injured reserve. In 2016, the injury bug hit Eifert again when he suffered an ankle injury during the Pro Bowl, sidelining him until Week 8 of the following season. He landed on injured reserve again that year after he sustained a back injury.

After playing in only two games in 2017, Eifert’s season was cut short again when it was announced he would have to undergo back surgery.

Contract details

National reaction


On a one-year deal which maxes out at $8 million, the Bengals aren’t assuming much risk here. “Who Dey” nation gets a guy in his contract year for the second consecutive season and one who, if he can stay healthy, might be able to put on a show like he did in 2015. If he hits injured reserve again, the Bengals still have Tyler Kroft on the roster and could potentially even add someone through the draft. It was interesting, however, to see how little interest there was in Eifert, even with the injury concerns.

Grade: B-