If you look at the stats from the 2012 campaign the Cincinnati Bengals should have no issues at the tight end position, but taking a closer look the spot was far too inconsistent for a Super Bowl caliber team.
Jermaine Gresham has been with the Bengals since being drafted 21st overall by the club in 2010. The two agreed on a five-year deal prior to his NFL debut, but the Bengals may cut ties with the former Oklahoma Sooner before his deal is up in 2015.
The casual fan would see Gresham’s 737 receving yards, five touchdowns and All-Pro status and immediately think it was a banner year in 2012. This wasn’t the case as Gresham dropped 10 passes last year with two crucial drops versus the Houston Texans in their lone postseason game. It’s hard enough for Andy Dalton to get this Bengals offense going, but when his tight end is ineffective it’s nearly impossible to gather steam.
While free agency has never been Cincinnati’s forte, I still wouldn’t mind the Bengals at least checking out the tight end market in 2013. With a surplus of cap space maybe the team could find a tight end that can get them over the hump of not winning a playoff game in over 20 years. Dalton and Gresham are developing more chemistry as the weeks go by and Gresham’s yards per catch did nearly double from 2011-2012 with 6.9 YPC.
While it’s not ideal that the team let go of a 24-year-old like Gresham, the club has to do what’s best for the team. Time will tell if we are saying similar things next season when Gresham enters the last year of his rookie contract. Cincinnati has plenty of moves to make this offseason, but the club still needs to make a decision on what to do at tight end, both in the short-term and the long-term.