4 most underrated moves the Bengals made in the 2023 offseason

Cincinnati Bengals Introduce Zac Taylor
Cincinnati Bengals Introduce Zac Taylor / Joe Robbins/GettyImages
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2. “Losing” Vonn Bell and Hayden Hurst in free agency

How would you feel if someone told you the Bengals traded Vonn Bell and Hayden Hurst to the Carolina Panthers for a fifth and sixth-round pick in 2024? Now make it Bell and Hurst for those picks with Nick Scott and Irv Smith Jr. That deal looks even better.

Hurst signed with the Panthers for three years on a $21.75M contract that averages $7.25M. All six of Cincinnati’s tight ends currently on the roster are scheduled to make $6.9M. 

Bell signed a deal with Carolina for $22.5M over three years. He will make an average of $7.5M per year. The total of the top five safeties on the Bengals roster will be $10.4M. Scott, brought in as a Bell replacement, will make an average of $4M.

The cap money Cincinnati will save at the safety and tight end positions could go a long way in helping to finalize some of the extensions they are looking to finish up. 

Bell and Hurst gave us some great memories and excellent play. But the team will save a lot of cap dollars at the tight end and safety positions while, hopefully, not sacrificing talent at those spots. If the team can get anywhere close to the same production from Scott, Smith, and rookie safety Jordan Battle, “losing” Bell and Hurst will prove to be an even better decision than it already appears to be.