Bengals Free Agency: 3 free agent options if Hayden Hurst isn't retained

Jan 29, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst (88) is unable
Jan 29, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst (88) is unable / Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports
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In his first season with the Cincinnati Bengals, tight end Hayden Hurst quickly became a fan favorite. Along with this, he managed to play a key role in the offense.

Hurst took the field in 13 games this past season. He recorded 52 receptions for 414 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also played a key role in the playoffs. In three postseason games, he recorded 13 receptions for 141 receiving yards and one touchdown.

While Hurst found success with the Bengals, he could very well be on the move. After signing just a one-year deal for 2022, he is currently slated to hit free agency. It appears clear that the Bengals could look to bring him back, but if the two sides are unable to reach a new deal, they could look to free agency to address the position.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

Here are three tight ends the Bengals could target in free agency

3. Austin Hooper

Throughout his NFL career, Austin Hooper has at times looked to be one of the most reliable tight ends in the NFL. This past season, even as the Tennesee Titans offense struggled through the air, he managed to produce.

In 2022, Hooper took the field in all 17 games for the Titans. He finished the campaign recording 41 receptions for 444 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. This marked the fifth season of his career where he recorded at least 40 receptions.

In total, Hooper has taken the field in 105 games over his seven season NFL career. He has racked up 339 receptions for 3,468 receiving yards and 25 receiving touchdowns up to this point. In addition, he is avearging 10.2 yards per receptions throughout his career.

If the Bengals are looking for a consistent veteran who could play in a similar fashion to Hurst, Hooper could be the ideal option. He could also be a cheaper option compared to some of the other tight ends set to hit free agency.