Bengals TE Hayden Hurst has put himself in a great spot ahead of 2023 free agency

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

Hayden Hurst signed a one-year "prove it" deal with the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason and it's safe to say that the tight end has proved it. As his reward, he's likely looking at a new contract wherever he ends up signing in 2023.

The Bengals lost C.J. Uzomah last offseason when he opted to sign with the Jets so they "settled" on Hurst instead. Hurst has been brilliant with his new team though, grabbing 46 catches for 388 yards and two touchdowns through 11 starts. He's caught at least one pass in each of his 11 games with the Bengals this year.

Hayden Hurst has boosted his stock

Of all of the pending free agents who have gained the most stock this season, Hurst has to be up there. He went from someone the Bengals "settled" on to being someone who will probably get a nice contract next season.

"It’s not easy to predict tight end contracts, but Evan Engram signed a one-year, $9 million deal last offseason. Ian Thomas, Mo Alie-Cox, Gerald Everett, Austin Hooper, Tyler Conklin, Tyler Higbee, C.J. Uzomah, Will Dissly and Logan Thomas all are making between $5.65 million and $8 million per year."

Doug Kyed, PFF

I included the quote above from Kyed of Pro Football Focus because it gives Bengals fans what a potential Hurst contract could look like.

The Bengals aren't an offense that relies on its tight end to be effective in the passing game. Drew Sample has never been a pass-catching threat but was a great blocker. Uzomah was good as a receiver but he was more appreciated for his voice in the locker room.

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Hurst, however, has continued to show what a decent tight end can do in this offense and it's going to help him get paid in the offseason. Should the Bengals be the team that pays him?