To answer the question simply, yes.
Tyler Eifert is a 28-year-old tight end who proved he can perform like a top-five talent in the league. However, there are serious injury concerns surrounding Eifert.
Eifert was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013 and has only played in 43 out of 96 regular season games. He has been hampered by numerous injuries since he began his career, including the following:
- 2013 – A shoulder injury that caused him to miss one game.
- 2014 – A shoulder labrum tear that caused him to miss three preseason games and a dislocated elbow in Week 1 that ended his season.
- 2015 – A neck injury that caused him to miss a game and a concussion that kept him out for two more games.
- 2016 – An ankle tear suffered in the Pro Bowl in January that kept him out of play for the first six games of the regular season. A back bruise that caused him to miss two games and another back injury kept him out for the last two games of the season and later required surgery.
- 2017 – Knee and back injuries that both required surgery and caused him to miss 14 games.
- 2018 – A foot injury that required surgery and caused him to miss 12 games.
Despite the overwhelming fact that Eifert is injury prone, there is no doubt he is talented. In 2015, he caught 13 touchdowns. His total was good enough to tie for second most in the league and first among tight ends, according to pro-football-reference.com.
In the 2016 season, Eifert only played in eight games, but still managed five touchdowns. Due to injuries, he has only played in six games over the past two seasons.
If Eifert can put together a full campaign, he could return to his 2015 season form. He would likely command a small, one-year “prove it” deal, similar to the one the Bengals gave him last season. Last year, he signed a one-year $5.5 million deal, with a $3 million signing bonus.
If the Buffalo Bills front office can negotiate a deal with little guaranteed money, but a lot of incentives, it could be a big win for Buffalo. Buffalo is in need of a tight end after releasing Charles Clay. A healthy Eifert would provide Josh Allen with a big weapon heading into his second year of development.
There is no way of knowing if Eifert will be healthy enough to last even a few weeks in the rigors of the NFL. Just because Eifert can successfully run an agility ladder, does not mean he can withstand an NFL caliber hits, but the risk is worth the reward.
In an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Eifert talked about his injury history.
“Obviously it’s something I have to deal with and something I have to answer to because it is a part of my history,” Eifert said. “It’s tough, though, because there’s nothing I could do to prevent what is happening. Pretty freak injuries.”
Eifert knows he has a lot to prove to NFL teams, but he also knows he will get at least one more chance. Will the Bills be the team to take the risk?