Bengals free-agent do-over No. 2: Finding a more reliable TE
Irv Smith Jr. might go on to have a career year in 2023. It's entirely possible. What worries me, however, is that the former second-round pick by the Vikings has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. What good is a player to a team if he can't stay healthy?
The Bengals lost Hayden Hurst to the Panthers in free agency, as Hurst reaped the benefits of his terrific 2022 season and signed a three-year deal with Carolina worth $21.75 million, per Spotrac. It was a deal that Cincinnati was never going to make so I don't fault them for letting Hurst walk.
Once Hurst was out the door, however, there were still other options out there who would have given the position more "uumph" than Smith. Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki were two players that could have greatly sparked the Bengals offense in 2023 and both guys signed one-year deals with their new teams.
The Bengals are fortunate that their offense doesn't need to have a pass-catching tight end to be great but as we saw with Hurst and C.J. Uzomah, having one can only help the team be the best it can be.