Irv Smith Jr. can hopefully be next tight end to benefit playing with Joe Burrow

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
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The Cincinnati Bengals signed Irv Smith Jr. to a one-year contract and while he shouldn't be the end-all-be-all plan for the team at the position, this could end up being a really good signing. This time last year, the Bengals signed Hayden Hurst to a one-year contract, and look how that panned out.

Smith could be the next tight end to benefit from catching passes from Joe Burrow, who has now helped get C.J. Uzomah and Hurst paid handsomely in the following offseason. Adam Patrick of The Viking Age (FanSided's Vikings site) confirmed that Smith could indeed be a good fit for Cincinnati when I asked him about the signing.

"He could be [a good signing], he’s really athletic and a good route runner. He’s just really struggled to stay healthy during his career, which is probably why he only got a 1-year deal, but he’s a great locker room guy and it seems like a potential low-risk high-reward type of move."

Adam Patrick

Smith's injury problems are certainly not something to ignore but if he's able to remain healthy, there's reason to believe he can fill in for Hurst just fine in 2023. Smith will also have the added incentive of trying to prove himself on this one-year deal. If he can stay healthy and produce, he'll be in line for a nice pay day next spring.

Irv Smith Jr. signing could be sneaky good for Bengals

The Bengals' offense doesn't necessarily need a dominant pass-catching tight end but it certainly doesn't hurt to have one. Smith can provide that if he can remain healthy and he even cited the Bengals' weapons as a reason why he wanted to join the reigning AFC North champions despite fielding offers from other teams.

Burrow doesn't need a pass-catching tight end in his offense but when he has one, that guy has become his safety net more often than not. Over the past two years, it's felt like whenever Burrow needs to convert a crucial first down, he threw to either Uzomah or Hurst in those moments.

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Smith has the chance to be just like Uzomah and Hurst if he can stay healthy and become Burrow's go-to guy on those key third or fourth downs, he should be able to capitalize just like those two guys did.