Arizona Cardinals should take flier on oft-injured tight end
By Jim Koch
The 2021 offseason has been an extremely busy one for the front office of the Arizona Cardinals. A plethora of needs have been addressed by general manager Steve Keim, but a couple of the club’s roster holes still remain. One position in particular has once again been ignored by the Cardinals management team.
At the moment, the Cards are severely undermanned at the tight end spot. Maxx Williams and Darrell Daniels, the duo that sits atop the squad’s depth chart, combined for just 16 receptions last season. Arizona’s most productive tight end in 2020, Dan Arnold, left the organization last month to sign a free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers.
While most of the position’s top free agents have already found homes this offseason, there is an intriguing name out there who’s still looking for work. Tyler Eifert, a veteran who’s preparing for his ninth NFL campaign, would be an interesting option for the Cardinals. Would Keim take a flier on the 30-year old pass-catcher?
The biggest knock on Eifert throughout his career has been his inability to stay healthy. The 6’6, 255 pounder has played an entire 16-game schedule just once since he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals back in 2013. A neck stinger, a dislocated elbow, a torn ankle ligament, back surgery and a broken ankle are a few of the injuries that have sidelined Eifert at various points of his professional career.
Despite his well-deserved reputation for being fragile, there’s reason to believe that Eifert’s susceptibility to injury could be a thing of the past. Over the past two seasons, the former first-round draft selection has been on the field for 31 out of a possible 32 contests. Eifert dressed for all 16 of the Bengals games back in 2019, and appeared in 15 matchups for the Jacksonville Jaguars last fall.
In 74 pro appearances (41 starts), Eifert has hauled in 221 passes for 2,501 yards and 26 touchdowns. In his one and only campaign with the Jaguars in 2020, the University of Notre Dame product registered 36 catches for 349 yards and two scores. Eifert totaled 52 receptions, 615 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns for Cincinnati back in 2015, an outstanding performance that catapulted him into that year’s Pro Bowl.
It’s safe to say that Eifert would be a definite upgrade for the Cards at the tight end position. Keim could offer the Indiana native a one-year, “prove-it” contract, the type of deal that the team has utilized with several other veterans this offseason. That sort of agreement between the Cardinals and Eifert would make a whole lot of sense, and could be just a phone call away.