3 former players the Bengals could reunite with ahead of trade deadline

Sep 10, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Carolina Panthers tight end Hayden Hurst (81) celebrates after
Sep 10, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Carolina Panthers tight end Hayden Hurst (81) celebrates after / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cincinnati Bengals aren't a team known for making trades but the AFC North is the only division where every team is sitting at .500 or better. That means if this team wants to break away from the rest of the pack, they must be aggressive. A trade might be the best way to do that.

The Bengals won't make a trade just to make a trade. It needs to make sense. That's why they should look at some former players who could be available at the deadline. These players would be familiar with the team and the playbook and could help them win a third straight division title and get to a third straight AFC Championship Game.

Here are some former players that could make sense for them to bring back in a trade.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

Hayden Hurst

The Bengals opted not to pay Hurst in the offseason and he went on to sign a three-year deal with the Panthers. It hasn't been great in Carolina, as theyve failed to win a game so far this season. Hurst has 14 catches for 116 yards and one touchdown through six games and has played in 56% of snaps.

Joseph Person of The Athletic wrote that Hurst could be on the trade block.

"Hurst caught five passes (on seven targets) for 41 yards and a touchdown at Atlanta in Week 1, but has gotten three targets in each of the past five games. Miami is a contending team that could use a receiving tight end. But with the Panthers putting Ian Thomas on injured reserve with a calf injury before the bye, they may have to keep Hurst and see if he’s a better fit with Thomas Brown as the play caller."

Joseph Person

With Irv Smith Jr. not living up to the expectations in Cincinnati and the Bengals' need for a better option at tight end, maybe adding Hurst could be an option. He's only in year one of that three-year deal, however. Also, as Person mentioned, Ian Thomas was placed on IR, meaning Hurst might have a bigger role while he's out.