The Carolina Panthers are signing former University of South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst to a three-year deal. General Manager Scott Fitterer attacked free agency last year in such a way as to fill all of the Panthers needs in advance of the draft and this year is shaping up no differently.
Hurst was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was traded to the Atlanta Falcons for a second round pick in 2020 while still on his rookie contract and then signed a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals last off season.
Hurst has started 31 of 70 games since entering the NFL and recorded 177 receptions, 1,718 yards, and 14 touchdowns. He was considered a top five tight end in this free agent class and should be seen as the Panthers TE1 moving forward. Hurst was likely targeted by the Panthers as a pass catching tight end who can provide a reliable safety valve for their rookie quarterback.