A breakdown of the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2019 free-agent signings.
C.J. Uzomah, tight end
The Bengals agreed to terms with Uzomah on a three-year deal more than $18 million on Monday, according to the NFL Network. Here’s a closer look at the tight end who will re-sign with the Bengals after being drafted there in 2015.
What it means: The Bengals lock up one of their three free-agent tight ends, and have somewhat of a safety net if they decide to pass on Tyler Eifert, who has spent most of the last several years injured. Uzomah became the go-to guy after injuries to Eifert and Kroft, and it’s become clear that he can be a featured part of their offense going forward.
What’s the risk: Minimal. The Bengals gave Uzomah a solid deal but by locking him up early, they didn’t get into a bidding war in a soft tight end market. Uzomah might not be a No. 1 tight end like Eifert, but he’s done everything right and took huge strides this season despite playing injured. It’s clear there’s a lot of potential and upside for a player that’s only 26-years-old.
The Bengals agreed to terms with Hart on a three-year deal worth $21 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Here’s a closer look at the tackle who spent the previous season in Cincinnati.
What it means: The Bengals worked to fix their offensive line last season by trading for Cordy Glenn and drafting Billy Price. That doesn’t appear to be the case this year. If they don’t take a lineman high in this season’s draft, it’s clear they’re OK with the status quo for now. That doesn’t bode well considering Bengals quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Jeff Driskel were sacked a combined 37 times in 2018.
What’s the risk: High. Although the Bengals viewed Hart in a favorable light, he certainly didn’t win over the fanbase with a team-high 14 penalties last season. The Bengals offensive line, particularly the right side, has been an issue in recent years, and paying Hart significant money seems counterproductive to fixing the problem. The numbers indicate that the Bengals view Hart as a starter for at least the next few years, despite his below-average season last year. It seems like the Bengals probably could’ve gotten him for a cheaper price if they had waited out the market.