Tyler Eifert, when healthy, is one of the best tight ends in the game. He is exciting, explosive and can find both yardage and the end zone.
The glaring black mark on his career is his ridiculous injury history. In his six years in the NFL, he has never played a full season. The most games he played came in his rookie year, at 15. In the past three seasons, he has played in only six games.
Eifert has dealt with 11 different injuries that have caused him to miss one or more games in his career. Back, ankle, knee, head- you name it he has likely gone through it.
Again, when healthy, though, Eifert is a bona fide weapon. There are a couple of teams in the NFL that would greatly benefit from his production. It would be a high-risk trade, but with so many teams on the verge of making a playoff push, it may just be worth it.
With Eifert on an expiring deal, and the Bengals at 0-6 and clearly in need of a rebuild, Cincinnati may be ready to see what they can get for the veteran tight end.
Let’s take a look at three teams that might be willing to do business.
New England Patriots
The Pats should be on every kind of “possible trade destination” article. Every NFL fan knows they make trades for pennies on the dollar almost every year. Considering their lack of pass-catching talent in 2019, Eifert would be a boon to the offense.
No other team in the league may be able to get Eifert for less than the Patriots will. Knowing their front office, they will probably offer a moderately sized return, citing Eifert’s injury history.
But once he lands in Foxborough, Tom Brady will be able to get the most out of him immediately. Starting tight end Matt LaCosse is doubtful for Week 7. Ben Watson has been resigned a week after the Patriots cut him. Their third and fourth-stringers are a second year player in Izzo and an undrafted four-year veteran in Tomlinson.
So that is a crowded field of mediocre tight ends. If the Patriots sign Eifert, he will immediately be the best tight end on the team, and would see playing time as soon as possible. If bad luck strikes yet again, and he loses time to injury, they will just be right back where they started.
If they can get a good price, this is a no-brainer for New England.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints’ starting tight end, Jared Cook, has been all but completely ineffective in 2019. He has 15 receptions on 27 targets, 168 yards and only two touchdowns. This is a big disappointment for a tight end that has basically been used as a receiver for his entire career.
Their second string tight end, Josh Hill has barely been used, being targeted only 13 times through six weeks. Their third-stringer, Garrett Griffin, is on injured reserve.
Needless to say, New Orleans needs a better pass-catching TE on their roster to push their impressive season even further. Eifert could be that guy.
This may be the best trade partner for Cincinnati, as well. The Saints love their weapons, and may be willing to give up more than anyone else to have another one for Bridgewater and/or Brees (when he returns from injury).
It may even light a fire under Jared Cook, who would need to play better immediately to keep his job over Eifert. Either way, this would be a good destination to get the most out of his talent.
San Francisco 49ers
This is an interesting one. It may seem superfluous to send Eifert to the Niners, who already have one of the best young tight ends in the game in George Kittle.
But look at it this way: With mediocre receiver core, imagine Kittle lining up on one side of the line with Eifert lined up on the other. This would do wonders for their pass-catching game.
It would free up Kittle by taking pressure off of him. It would help the play action game, as having a two tight end set on the field could help confuse the defense as to whether they will run or pass. And it may even make the receivers more reliable, as you cannot necessarily just put a linebacker on Eifert. Not to mention they would have one of the most creative offensive minds in the league in Kyle Shanahan drawing up the plays for both Kittle and Eifert.
This one is a long shot, but it is feasible. The Niners will have to buy very low to make this trade worth it. Although, if he goes down to injury yet again, San Francisco will still have, arguably, the best tight end in the entire game.
Cincinnati may be willing to do business, because this would send Tyler far away from the AFC North. Plus, as stated above, Eifert is on an expiring deal. They may as well get something.
If San Francisco wants to play 4-D chess, they will consider this trade.
Featured image courtesy of Frank Victores/Associated Press
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