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Bengals exercise Tyler Eifert's fifth-year option

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After missing all but one quarter of the 2014 season, Tyler Eifert rebounded with his first Pro Bowl nod in 2015.

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The Cincinnati Bengals tacitly acknowledged Eifert's growing value as one of NFL's most effective red-zone weapons, exercising the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

"We had very high expectations for Tyler when we drafted him, and he has met them all," coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement released by the team. "He's a hugely important part of our team as we go forward."

Eifert is now under Bengals control through the 2017 season.

Uncoverable in training camp last summer, Eifert went on to emerge as a highly productive second fiddle to No. 1 receiver A.J. Green in Andy Dalton's surprisingly explosive aerial attack.

Eifert gave smaller safeties fits, using his size, catch radius and leaping ability to high-point 50-50 balls. By midseason, he had already eclipsed Bob Trumpy's 46-year-old single-season franchise record for touchdowns by a tight end.

With Marvin Jones in Detroit and Mohamed Sanu in Atlanta, Eifert should be featured even more heavily in 2016.

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