All offseason long, Bengals fans were clamoring for the team to upgrade the tight end position, especially after Hayden Hurst departed in free agency. The Stripes signed Irv Smith Jr. to a one-year deal and while we're only halfway through the season and he has time to prove himself, he hasn't been very good so far.
The Bengals opted not to draft one of the many talented tight ends in the draft and roll with Smith as their TE1 and it hasn't paid off thus far. They did recently promote Tanner Hudson to the active roster so maybe the plan is to give him more opportunities moving forward. Hudson looked good in the preseason so there is certainly potential for him to help elevate this offense.
Cincinnati's offense doesn't necessarily need a game-changing tight end but in 2021 and 2022 when Joe Burrow needed a crucial first down, he had C.J. Uzomah and Hayden Hurst to throw to and they nearly always came through in the clutch. He doesn't have a tight end right now who can offer what those guys could. Maybe Hudson will be that guy or maybe Smith will figure it out.
Maybe when the season is over, we'll look back at the deadline and be thankful the team didn't give up draft assets for a tight end because Hudson will have played well or Smith finally figured things out. Right now though, it was certainly a disappointing non-move for the team.