C.J. Uzomah Landing Spots: Dolphins, Chargers, and Jets could all be potential destinations

Where are the potential landing spots for Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah as he is set to be a free agent this offseason?

It has been an intriguing couple of years for Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah, but what could his market and potential landing spots look like if he leaves in free agency this 2022 offseason? Let’s take a look at Uzomah’s numbers, his potential value on the open market, and which teams might be interested in adding him in 2022.

C.J. Uzomah’s landing spots

It is really tough to judge Uzomah’s performance over the past two years. He started 2020 impressively with 8 receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. However, an Achilles injury ended his season after just Week 2. Uzomah returned for the 2021 season and started 16 games for the Bengals. He finished the year with 49 receptions, 493 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns on 63 targets.

Uzomah’s numbers are difficult to analyze. His 493 receiving yards rank 19th at the position, but that is largely due to opportunity. Uzomah ranked 20th among TEs in targets and 18th in receptions. Yet, he tied for ninth at the position in touchdowns. Additionally, he had the highest catch percentage (77.8%) among tight ends with at least 50 targets in 2021.

All of this makes his value tough to unpack, and the TE position only further muddies the water. There are many elements to the position, but with mediocre receiving numbers and mid-level blocking ability at the position, Uzomah’s ceiling in terms of value is capped. Spotrac currently projects Uzomah’s market value at $10.7 million per year. That would place him seventh among the highest-paid tight ends, which seems high given his performances to date.

The problem is that finding a contributor at tight end can be tough, which pushes up their value. Nevertheless, there are several good tight ends potentially set to hit the open market this year. Having the likes of Mike Gesicki, Dalton Schultz, and Zach Ertz as free-agent competition could push Uzomah’s price Uzomah below the $10 million per year mark.

The Miami Dolphins are potentially in the market for a tight end this offseason

With Gesicki set to be a free agent, we could see the Dolphins dive into the TE market. That would make them an ideal landing spot for Uzomah if he leaves the Bengals. There has been some talk that the Dolphins could franchise tag Gesicki. However, as we discussed in the Dolphins’ offseason preview, they have many needs to address, and committing $10.8 million to the tight end position might not be a valuable use of their time.

It will be fascinating to see how the market plays out across the TE position. If the Spotrac projection for Uzomah is correct, then the Dolphins might be better off franchise tagging Gesicki, who is a known commodity to them and knows the offense. However, if they feel the market for Uzomah settles around $8 million per year, he might be the better option.

Uzomah could be a good fit for the Los Angeles Chargers offense

The Chargers used Jared Cook as a bridge at the tight end position in 2021. However, his impending departure this offseason leaves the Chargers with a decision to make. Do they go down the route of another veteran on a short-term deal or do they look to sign a longer-term option for Justin Herbert?

This is the offseason to look into a longer-term veteran option. There are at least four good players that could be signed long-term. Of those four, Uzomah might be the cheapest option, but he is also undeniably talented. The Chargers have the cap space to compete for the more expensive options at tight end, but they have other needs that might limit how much they are willing to commit to the TE position.

The Jets do not have a long-term option at the tight end position

After it looked for a long time as though Chris Herndon could be the Jets’ long-term solution at the position, they are now in flux at that spot. Ryan Griffin and Tyler Kroft were the two leaders for the Jets at the position. Griffin will be a free agent next offseason, and Kroft is one in 2022.

Additionally, neither is as good as Uzomah, which makes this a logical upgrade. The Jets need to keep building the offense around Zach Wilson, and getting him a reliable tight end target would be a good start. This could be a match made in heaven for Uzomah to follow fellow former Bengal Carl Lawson to New York.

Uzomah would potentially provide an upgrade for the Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have really made do by piecing together their tight end position in recent years. They have leaned on the combination of Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox, but neither has become a crucial piece. Both are set to be free agents over the next two offseasons, and the Colts could start making contingency plans this season.

The Colts need to decide what to do with Alie-Cox this offseason, and they have $40.8 million in cap space to add pieces. Indianapolis definitely needs to add a pass catcher, be it a receiver or a tight end. Their options are essentially to either go for a premium receiver and budget tight end or vice-versa. Uzomah could be somewhere in the middle ground, leaving the Colts an opportunity to invest in a second WR to play opposite Michael Pittman Jr.

Would a return to the Bengals make sense for Uzomah this offseason?

It might work for Uzomah to return to Cincinnati, but it feels like they may have to overpay compared to the market for him. Unless the Bengals are willing to match or go over market price, is there upside for Uzomah to remain in Cincinnati? Of course. There are potential emotional ties and the hope the team is on the verge of winning a Super Bowl, but does it make sense financially?

If they sign him long-term and look for a hometown discount, Uzomah should probably at least test the market. If they want to go short-term, then will a return to Cincinnati improve Uzomah’s value? Will his opportunities ever get better than the 63 targets he saw this season? If he believes the answer is no, then simply returning to Cincinnati for another year or two doesn’t make a lot of sense in terms of longer-term planning.

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Related Articles