7 free-agent tight ends the Carolina Panthers could sign in 2023

(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Gesicki
(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Gesicki /
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Carolina Panthers
(Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports) Hayden Hurst /

Carolina Panthers could sign Hayden Hurst

Hayden Hurst is a former first-round draft pick that has bounced around so far in his short career. He was a part of the Cincinnati Bengals’ impressive offense in 2022, playing a solid role for them en route to 52 receptions for 414 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

In three playoff games, he added 13 receptions for 141 receiving yards and a touchdown catch. Hurst is also familiar with the NFC South having played on the Atlanta Falcons, so he shouldn’t be a stranger to the Carolina Panthers if they opted to go in this direction.

Hurst will be 30 years old when the season begins and would be a team-friendly contract if acquired. Spotrac projects the player to receive a one-year deal for $6.8 million, which could be pretty decent value as a short-term fix for the Panthers in 2023.

The former South Carolina standout has an obvious connection to the area and looks like the sort of tight end that would fit in well with Frank Reich’s new offensive system. Hurst is also a fiery personality and would have no trouble assuming a leadership role in the locker room immediately.

If the Panthers want a little more bang for their buck, then they could do far worse than look in Hurst’s direction. Even if this does represent a band-aid solution to an ongoing complication.