Four Potential Tight End Upgrades for the Cincinnati Bengals Ahead of the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline…

As the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline approaches, the Cincinnati Bengals are evaluating their options for improving their tight end position. In this article, we’ll discuss the current state of the Bengals’ tight end situation, highlighting the shortcomings and potential trade targets to address their needs.

The Current Tight End Situation: The Bengals signed Irv Smith, Jr., during the offseason to replace Hayden Hurst, but Smith’s performance thus far has been disappointing. Smith, a former second-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, has only managed six receptions for 32 yards with no touchdowns. His recent fumble against the San Francisco 49ers added to the list of concerns.

On the positive side, Smith showed some promise in the game against the 49ers, recording four receptions for 25 yards. However, it’s worth noting that he outperformed other Bengals’ tight ends such as Drew Sample and Mitchell Wilcox, who received low grades from Pro Football Focus.

The Tight End Dilemma: The Bengals must decide whether to stick with their current tight ends for the remainder of the year or explore trade options. With the NFL Trade Deadline looming, they need to make a decision soon.

Potential Solutions:

  1. Promoting Tanner Hudson from the practice squad is an option, as he performed well when Smith was previously injured, contributing four receptions for 48 yards over two games.
  2. Free agency is not a viable route, as the available free-agent tight ends, Adam Shaheen and Maxx Williams, have not played since 2021.
  3. Therefore, the most likely avenue for improvement is through a trade. Several tight ends are potentially available, and here are a few notable options:
    • Zach Ertz, a former Philadelphia Eagle, currently with the Arizona Cardinals, is on the IR with a quad strain. However, he has shown his ability with 27 receptions for 187 yards and a score this season.
    • New England Patriot tight ends Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki are also potential trade targets. Henry has 23 catches for 238 yards and two touchdowns, while Gesicki has 19 receptions for 160 yards and one score.
    • Mo Alie-Cox, who has fallen out of favor with the Indianapolis Colts, could be a valuable addition. Despite limited opportunities this season, he has only six drops over 134 targets, and PFF has suggested him as a potential target for the Bengals.
    • Reuniting with Hayden Hurst, who is currently with the Carolina Panthers, could also be considered. Hurst has had just 14 receptions recently, but his consistent hands and past contributions for the Bengals make him a viable option.

Conclusion: The Cincinnati Bengals face a crucial decision leading up to the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline regarding their tight end position. While their current options have shown mixed results, there are several potential trade targets available who could strengthen their tight end room and help them achieve their playoff ambitions.

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