3 Cincinnati Bengals we can safely call busts after the 2023 season

You win some, you lose some.

Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals
Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals / Jeff Dean/GettyImages
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The 2023 season didn't go according to plan for the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Burrow was injured around the halfway point of the season, which led to the team finishing 9-8 and missing the playoffs. The absence of a playoff game and injuries weren't the only things to go awry for the Bengals in 2023.

Let's take a look at three members of the team last year who, for one reason or another, proved they were a bust.

Irv Smith Jr.

Sometimes teams sign someone in free agency and hit an absolute grand slam and sometimes, they strike out with the bases loaded. Irv Smith Jr. was an instance of striking out.

The Bengals signed Smith last offseason after things didn't work out for him in Minnesota. Cincinnati hoped that Smith could be their TE1 for the 2023 season and benefit from catching passes from Joe Burrow the way that C.J. Uzomah and Hayden Hurst benefitted.

Unfortunately, that never happened. Smith had just 18 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown in 12 games and six starts. He was eventually passed on the depth chart by Tanner Hudson and the only real good thing here is that Smith was only signed to a one-year deal. If he couldn't be the number one tight end in Cincinnati with Burrow as his quarterback (at least for half of the season), then it's doubtful he can succeed anywhere else.


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