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Bengals TE Irv Smith "looks entrenched as starter" for 2023

4/30/2023 9:05:21 PM
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Irv Smith "looks entrenched as the starter" at tight end for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2023 according to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic.

The Bengals surprised many draft needs charts by not picking a tight end after Hayden Hurst left for the Panthers in free agency.  Originally a second-round pick out of Alabama by the Vikings in 2019, Smith signed a one-year, $1.75 million "prove-it" deal to join Cincinnati after missing the entire 2021 season with a knee injury and much of the 2022 season with an ankle injury. In Minnesota, Smith had nine touchdowns on 91 receptions over 37 games before being replaced by T.J. Hockensen in the middle of the 2022 season.

Entering his age-25 season, Smith could have sneaky fantasy appeal if he can stay on the field and emerges as the primary route-running tight end in the pass-heavy Bengals offense. Last year, TE Hayd Hurst had a 14 percent target share in the Cincinnati offense, and Bengals tight ends combined for a 17 percent target share. 

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