This off-season, the Cincinnati Bengals agreed to a deal with Tight End Hayden Hurst in free agency. Cincinnati was forced to part ways with former Tight End C.J. Uzomah. Uzomah ended up signing with the New York Jets on a three-year contract worth $24 million, earning more money than elite Tight End Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders. They decided to take a more cost-effective route with former Atlanta Falcons Tight End on a one-year worth $3.5 million.
The more I think about it, the $3.5 million deal for Hayden Hurst is such a slam dunk for the #Bengals. Tight end money became insane this off-season and the Bengals landed one of the best fits for their offense. Hurst’s deal is the 32nd highest TE money in 2022. Great deal. pic.twitter.com/SqGkqHPGzc — Willie Lutz (@willie_lutz) June 1, 2022
What Makes Hayden Hurst A Threat?
Hurst is simply as good as the Quarterback that flings him the ball. In other words, with Joe Burrow at Quarterback, this should provide Hurst with a great comeback season. Two seasons ago, Hurst had his best season with Quarterback Matt Ryan who has always been a pretty accurate passer. Hurst had 56 receptions for 571 yards and scored six touchdowns in 2020.
Joe Burrow was the most accurate passer last season with just over 70% completion percentage. Burrow also loves to look for his Tight End matchups. Hurst is listed at 6-foot-4 inches and 250 pounds. He has a 31.5 vertical leap and excellent hands to win those 50/50 balls. His 4.6 in the 40-yard dash can create huge mismatches with linebackers. This can pose a problem for many defenses, especially with the Bengals already having mismatches with the best receiver core in the league.
What Kind Of Season Will It Take For Hayden Hurst To Become A Top Ten Tight End?
Let’s look at last season’s stats.
The tenth place Tight End in receptions was Tyler Higbee of the Los Angeles Rams with 61 catches. The AFC North has a lot of coverage difficulties with their linebackers. Perhaps this should be capitalized on enough to get Hurst into that 60-catch range. The best area the Bengals offense has is exposing mismatches. The mismatches are all over the field, and finding Hurst up the middle of the field should be a considerable threat to defenses.
The tenth place Tight End in yardage was Noah Fant from the Denver Broncos with 670 yards. In 2020 Hayden Hurst recorded 10 yards a catch which could make this possible with 60 plus receptions. Keep in mind that Fant had no existing starting quarterback that was throwing to him. With Joe Burrow, it can make Hurst beat his records.
The tenth place Tight End in touchdowns was former Bengal C.J. Uzomah, with five touchdowns. Burrow loves his Tight Ends, so it’s doubtful this stat will go down. The Bengals were top ten in red-zone touchdowns, and this would be a very informative target in the end zone.
There is a good possibility that after the first few weeks of the season, we could see Hurst become a massive threat in fantasy football. It will be expected that the Bengals will use him for many red-zone targets, which could make him a top ten Tight End in some fantasy leagues.
Hayden Hurst’s Best Attributes
He has a significant height advantage, but the best attribute would be an extra blocker for running back Joe Mixon. When he gets his defender latched on, he isn’t letting go. As a result, he does not get many holding penalties. His speed could help Mixon on the swing passes and let the big man Hurst eat.
Weirdly I think Hayden Hurst is good at cut blocks despite being not great at blocking in general. Does a great job of actually cutting the defender and not just getting in their way. pic.twitter.com/zfgo0Cukw8 — Mike (@bengals_sans) March 19, 2022
The best thing that Hayden Hurst brings to the table is his youth. This is only his 5th season in the league. He has had disappointing seasons and has not even gotten close to his full potential. We could see an extension for a potential top ten Tight End if he gets there.