Smith, who visited Cincinnati a few weeks ago, was selected in the third round, 71st overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played four seasons with the Buccaneers, before being traded to the New England Patriots on April 30, 2009, for a fifth round pick.
He was released by New England during final cuts and quickly joined the Philadelphia Eagles where he played in all 16 games. The past three seasons he’s played for the Browns.
He has 160 receptions in his eight-year career for 1,461 yards. However, in his years with the Browns, Smith was used primarily as a blocker on running downs. The move adds depth at tight end for the Bengals, who already have a nice 1-2 punch with pro bowler Jermaine Gresham and second year player Orson Charles.
Signing Smith gives the Bengals flexibility to play Charles in the fullback position. Charles is a long, athletic player who can block in the running game, but would also give the Bengals an option to catch out of the backfield. That gives offensive coordinator Jay Gruden the ability to add another wrinkle to his offensive game plan.
The signing may not be flashy, but Smith could play a role on key downs for this team. Small signings like this could be the difference between winning the AFC North Division Championship and losing it.
It may be dull and boring, but the Bengals have signed their third free agent this offseason. Could James Harrison be next?