TE1: Hayden Hurst
As I alluded to on the intro slide, the Bengals had to find a new tight end once C.J. Uzomah signed with the Jets in free agency. They didn’t end up landing a top-tier name in free agency but after Uzomah left, they agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Hayden Hurst.
Bengals fans are familiar with Hurst, as he played the first two years of his career in Baltimore. He was outplayed by Mark Andrews during that time and eventually found his way to Atlanta in 2020 where he put up career numbers (56 catches for 571 yards and six touchdowns).
While Hurst’s 2021 campaign wasn’t as strong (26 catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns), he had a good excuse for the decline; The Falcons had drafted Kyle Pitts fourth overall so it made sense that Hurst’s numbers weren’t as good since he was no longer the TE1 in Atlanta.
Hurst should be able to fill Uzomah’s role in Cincinnati this year and it’s possible that he’ll be paired with a rookie tight end in the starting role. Until that rookie is ready to rock and roll, however, it’ll be Hurst’s time to shine and prove he’s still got the chops as a starting tight end.