3 crucial elements Hayden Hurst brings to the Carolina Panthers in 2023

Hayden Hurst
Hayden Hurst / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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What crucial elements can Hayden Hurst bring to the Carolina Panthers after his eye-catching arrival during 2023 free agency?

Almost like clockwork after mentioning the importance of the tight end position in today’s NFL and the neglect the Carolina Panthers had shown to improve theirs, Scott Fitterer went out and signed Hayden Hurst to a three-year contract worth up to $21.75 million. It sure feels good to have a competent coaching staff working in unison with the front office to address critical needs.

A first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the former South Carolina Gamecock has suited up for the Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, and most recently the Cincinnati Bengals. Through his first five seasons in the league, Hurst has amassed 177 receptions for 1,718 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns Of the 70 games played, he’s started in 31 of them, thanks to a combination of injuries and being behind on the depth chart.

He enjoyed his best statistical year in 2020 with the Atlanta Falcons, where he put together a 56-571-6 receiving statistic line. Last season with the Bengals, Hurst started all 13 games that he played in and developed a nice rapport with their young quarterback, Joe Burrow, to the tune of 52-414-2.

Modest numbers at first glance, but considering the firepower of that Bengals offense with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Joe Mixon – Hurst clearly carved out an important role, helping the team to their second AFC Championship game in as many years.

With that understanding of Hurst’s career arc thus far, what can Panthers fans expect the tight end to bring to the field in their new-look offense next season?