Staring down a trio of wide receivers set to hit free agency, the Bengals have made their first signing.
Brandon Tate inked a new deal Friday afternoon, according to a release sent out by the team. The 28-year-old, a former New England Patriots draft pick, spent the past five seasons in Cincinnati. Most notably a punt and kick returner, Tate has averaged nearly 10 yards per punt return and 25 yards per kick return.
Per NFL Media's Rand Getlin, Tate's contract is a one-year deal. Tate caught two passes for 59 yards and a touchdown last year.
"Brandon has made big plays to help us win games, and the consistency of his work ethic and his overall play is a big plus," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement. "We're excited to have him back in the mix on both offense and special teams. He's a player we've been able to count on every week."
The move is just as much about dependability and trust as it is production. Tate has not missed a game in Orange and Black, and has lost only three fumbles over the past three seasons. He is the most accomplished punt returner in terms of attempts (153) and yards (1,411) in team history.