1. Hayden Hurst
If the Bengals are going to sign a tight end in free agency, it should be Hayden Hurst, who they're already familiar with. Hurst was an under-the-radar signing last spring and put up some of the best numbers of his career with 52 receptions for 414 yards and two touchdowns.
What worries me with Hurst is that he's projected to earn a three-year deal worth $28.5 million and an annual salary of $9 million. If that's what the going rate is for Hurst, the team might have to let him sign elsewhere. They let C.J. Uzomah walk for less and both guys were 29 years old. Plus, Uzomah had put up more consistent numbers.
Hurst was a lot of fun to watch this past season and while it seems like he'd be open to returning to Cincinnati, if the projected contract is what it'll take to bring him back, the Bengals might want to keep looking. Their offense doesn't need a tight end who's a major threat as a pass-catcher with all of the wide receiver weapons they have.
The Bengals could also turn to the draft to find their next starting tight end but that's a story for another day.