Joe Burrow: Irv Smith is looking smooth, we’re excited to have him

With Hayden Hurst signing a three-year deal with the Panthers in free agency, the Bengals had a significant vacancy at tight end.

So, they signed former Vikings second-round pick Irv Smith Jr. to fill the void.

Smith has suffered various injuries in his career that have limited him to just 37 games with 15 starts over his first four seasons. But his new quarterback has liked what he’s seen so far from the tight end.

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“Irv, first of all, he’s upstairs all day every day learning the offense, watching tape with [tight ends coach] James [Casey]. So that’s exciting to hear,” Joe Burrow said in a press conference earlier this week. “And he’s looking smooth — big, strong, athletic, smooth hands. So we’re excited to have that guy.”

While receivers Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd are likely to remain Burrow’s primary targets, Smith’s position is still important in Cincinnati’s passing game. In last season’s AFC Championship Game, it was Hurst that Burrow threw to on third-and-16 with just over a minute left for a 23-yard gain.

Hurst finished last year with 52 receptions for 414 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Time will tell if Smith can replicate — or exceed — that kind of production in 2023.

Joe Burrow: Irv Smith is looking smooth, we’re excited to have him originally appeared on Pro Football Talk