The Bengals momentarily leaped into 2017 on Wednesday when they wasted no time exercising the one-year option on Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert even though they had three more weeks to do it.
The option came with Eifert's selection as the 21st pick in the first round of the 2013 draft. After missing all but nine snaps in 2014 with elbow and shoulder injuries, Eifert dominated last year when he led all NFL tight ends and set the Bengals tight ends record with 13 touchdowns in 13 games.
"We had very high expectations for Tyler when we drafted him, and he has met them all," said head coach Marvin Lewis in a news release. "He's a hugely important part of our team as we go forward."
Eifert sprained his foot in the Jan. 31 Pro Bowl and is expected to be fine as the off-season workout program begins Monday.