One of the NFL’s most reliable veterans, who played his collegiate career at the University of Pittsburgh, is set to become a free agent after the 2023 season and he’s interested in coming back to play for his hometown team.
“You never know,” WR Tyler Boyd said. “I love Coach [Mike] Tomlin. He’s probably one of the realest dudes in the sport’s business. Obviously, I played at Pitt, and I had a lot of run-ins with him and talked to him just about football. His personality is more like a father figure, it’s a great connection.”
Boyd has played every season of his eight-year career with the Bengals. But his contract is expiring at the end of the season and Cincinnati may part ways with him with a couple of other big contracts to hand out.
Money is already tight after making Joe Burrow the highest-paid quarterback in the league last offseason and two other playmakers are set to have big paydays as well.
WR Tee Higgins’ rookie contract is up while WR Ja’Marr Chase is eligible for a contract extension. If the Bengals want to retain either, they’ll have to pay up.
In a perfect world, Cincinnati would be able to keep all three players. But it looks like at least one of them will not be with the team in 2024, and Boyd seems to be the early odd man out.
The Steelers could be the benefactors. They’re likely to move on from veteran WR Allen Robinson II, who had just 280 yards and zero touchdowns this season, as they’ll save $10M against the cap.
That means Pittsburgh will need a new No. 3 WR to pair with Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. The No. 55 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft could be that, posting 50-plus catches and 600-plus yards in all but one season of his NFL career.
However, if Boyd does opt to stay with the Bengals or go elsewhere this offseason, he still isn’t closing the door on returning to Pittsburgh.
“Who knows,” Boyd added. “Even if I don’t go after this year, I could do a one-year deal at the end of my career and maybe finish up, but who knows.”