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
(Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /

Carolina Panthers could sign Irv Smith Jr.

Irv Smith Jr. is a guy that hasn’t been able to show off his true potential due to injuries. In light of the acquisition of T.J. Hockenson, it seems doubtful that the former second-round pick will return to the Minnesota Vikings next season.

The one-time Alabama standout dealt with a thumb injury and a high ankle sprain in 2022. Smith would go on to record 25 receptions for 182 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in eight games played, which was disappointing based on the player’s talent level.

According to Spotrac, he’s projected to land a deal that will pay him an annual salary of $10.2 million. It seems doubtful that he will receive that amount based on his lack of availability and production.

Teams could bet on his potential as he is only 24 years old. If the Carolina Panthers can acquire him for a low cost, it could be worth it.

For all of Smith’s bad luck on the health front, he remains an athletic presence that teams normally take a second chance on. His explosiveness can cause mismatch problems, so a fresh start with increased responsibilities could be exactly what the player needs at this stage of his career.