It’s not ideal, Tobin said at the Annual League Meeting this week, per The Cincinnati Enquirer. The situation he has put us in is not ideal. We are a player-oriented business. Players that can make a difference are important and we recognize that. The more he’s not available to us the more it hurts us.

Unless it’s reduced or overturned on appeal, Burfict will miss the first four games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. It’s the third suspension of Burfict’s career. If the punishment sticks, the seventh-year defender will have missed a total of 10 games due to suspension while playing in 36 of a possible 64 regular-season tilts since 2014.

It’s not ideal when a guy is not available to us and we recognize that, but our over-riding thought is how to field the best football team we can possibly field.

Unless it becomes a decision rooted in finances, Burfict’s place on the Bengals doesn’t appear to be in danger based on what Tobin and Lewis are saying. Whether his tenure with the team can survive another suspension beyond the one slated for September remains to be seen.

Ebron’s departure leaves the Lions short-staffed at tight end. Michael Roberts, the second-year pro out of Toledo, is the only player on the roster who saw meaningful snaps last season. As a rookie, he was primarily asked to focus on blocking and finished the year with four receptions.

And a thin market has already seen some of the top options reach agreements. Jimmy Graham is headed to Green Bay for a three-year contract, and Trey Burton, who many speculated would draw interest from the Lions if they moved on from Ebron, agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal with the Chicago Bears.jets_053