Bengals’ Plan for TE Irv Smith Jr. has been revealed

Bengals' Plan for TE Irv Smith Jr. has been revealed

It took two weeks, but the Cincinnati Bengals replaced one tight end with another in free agency. Out went Hayden Hurst, and in went Irv Smith Jr. But is it really that simple?



Smith, who signed a one-year deal worth $1.75 million back in March, comes to Cincinnati with a second-round pedigree, and starting experience. The Bengals’ offense will be relying on both from the young tight end.



Bengals' Plan for TE Irv Smith Jr. has been revealed



Head coach Zac Taylor told reporters Monday morning that vision for Smith is to replace Hurst as the starter. Yeah we think he can come in and play that role for us,” Taylor said. “There’s always competition in that room but that’s the vision that we have for Irv is to come in there and fill that role that Hayden had for us.”

In four years with the Vikings, Smith played in 37 games and made 15 starts, majority of which came in his first two years when he was healthy. 2021 became a lost year for him, and injuries continued to hinder him in 2022.



The promise of Smith taking on a full-time starter’s role is countered by the unpredictability of him lasting an entire season, which is why the team will still look for options in the NFL Draft.





Drafting a rookie to compete with Smith wasn’t discussed with the fifth-year veteran when he signed with the team, but having him under contract gives the offense a talented player they can pencil in as a starter and roll from there. “No that really wasn’t conversated,” Smith said of the team adding an early-round rookie.

“I’m confident in my abilities and they had a plan with me coming in, and I’m here for a reason. So at the end of the day that’s all I can ask for.”

Smith is the ideal signing a team should make before the Draft. His presence gives the team a capable starting option, but doesn’t prevent a more talented rookie from coming and starting over him if need be. The odds of that occurring are slim, but not impossible. The Bengals’ TE room will receive much-needed clarity once the NFL Draft concludes in two weeks