CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have added a much-needed pass-catching tight end for their incoming rookie quarterback.
The Panthers agreed to terms with former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst on a three-year contract, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the deal can’t be officially announced until later in the day.
The Panthers plan to select a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft after trading away four draft picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore to the Chicago Bears to move up eight spots.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Hurst was a first-round draft pick in 2018 who spent last season with the Bengals and caught 52 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown in three postseason games with Cincinnati.
Before Cincinnati, the 29-year-old Hurst spent two seasons apiece in Baltimore and Atlanta. His best season came in 2020 when he caught 56 passes for 571 yards and six touchdowns for the Falcons.
Tight end has been a major area of weakness for the Panthers ever since Greg Olsen retired in 2020.
The leading tight end last season was Ian Thomas, who caught 21 passes for 197 yards and no touchdowns. Reserve tight end Tommy Tremble had 19 catches for 174 yards and three TDs.
Both Thomas and Tremble are under contract this season.
The Panthers are still in the market for a wide receiver following Moore’s departure, but that position is fairly thin this season. The team could address that need with the 39th overall pick in the draft.