Following tight end Hayden Hurst's decision to move on to the Carolina Panthers, the Cincinnati Bengals now find themselves in search of a new tight end for the second straight offseason.
With a free agent market that has not seen many major contracts given out and a draft class full of talent at the position, the Bengals could have their pick of tight ends. Some may be a better fit than others for this high-powered offense.
With star quarterback Joe Burrow leading the way, the Bengals have put together one of the most prolific passing offenses in the NFL. The wide receiver trio of Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd have remained elite over their two years together.
With no signs of slowing down, this offense can only get better. Adding a tight end that can stretch the field could do just that.
With that being said, here are three tight ends that could be elite additions to the Bengals offense.
Since the start of free agency, the tight end market has played out drastically differently than many expected. While former Bengals tight end Hayden Hurts agreed to a three-year deal worth up to $21.75 million with the Carolina Panthers, other tight ends such as Mike Gesicki agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the New England Patriots.
With the market playing out this way, even the top tight ends could be available for smaller contracts. This includes former Tennesee Titans starting tight end, Austin Hooper.
With the addition of Hooper, the Bengals would be addressing the position in arguably the best way that they can. It would also allow for more flexibility in the draft.
Over his seven NFL seasons, Hooper has developed into a talented pass catcher at the tight end position. Through 105 career games and 59 starts, he has recorded 339 receptions for 3,468 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns.
Since entering the NFL in 2016, Hooper has put together several strong seasons. He has recorded at least 300 receiving yards and three touchdowns in six of his seven years in the league.
During the 2022 season, Hooper played a key role in the Tennesee Titans offense. Over 17 games, he recorded 41 receptions for 444 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
In this offense led by Joe Burrow, the Bengals have invested heavily in their passing attack. With Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd leading the charge, adding a tight end such as Hooper who can also stretch the field could make this unit even more dangerous.