For the second straight offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals are losing their starting tight end. Hayden Hurst signed a three-year deal with the Panthers and good for him for benefitting off the excellent season he had in Cincinnati.
Fans were hoping that Hurst's words about loving Cincinnati meant that he'd be willing to take a pay cut to stay in town but the realistic fans knew that he'd have a market. The Panthers are rebuilding and could truly use a player like Hurst.
Where does this leave the Bengals at the tight end position?
Well, as of right now, the only tight ends they have on the roster are Devin Asiasi, Tanner Hudson, and Nick Bowers. Fans might be familiar with Asiasi but that's it out of those three. If the team had to suit up and play a game right now, Asiasi would be the starter with Hudson and Bowers as the backups.
Bengals projected tight end depth chart
We can safely assume that Cincinnati isn't going to just use those three guys at the position in 2023. They might add someone in free agency as they did with Hurst last year or maybe they draft someone early on. Either way, Asiasi isn't going to be the starter.
Dalton Kincaid is someone who has been mocked to the Bengals frequently and it makes sense as to why. The team could also opt to re-sign Drew Sample and have those two guys as the TE1/2 respectively. Sample isn't much of a pass-catching tight end but he's a great blocker so bringing him back could make sense. Don't forget about Mitchell Wilcox too, who wasn't tendered by the team but could still be an option to bring back.
I'll predict that the team spends an early-round pick on Kincaid and utilizes him as their starter with Asiasi and either Sample or Wilcox as backup options.