Hayden Hurst

Latest On Chargers TE Hayden Hurst

Hayden Hurst was sidelined for the second half of the season in 2023 due to lingering issues stemming from a concussion. The veteran tight end – now with the Chargers – has recovered, though, and he recently revealed he could have returned to the Panthers’ lineup had the team been fighting for a postseason berth.

Hurst was diagnosed with post-traumatic amnesia after seeing his one and only Carolina campaign come to an end just nine games into the year. He stated that would not be a season-ending ailment, and his most recent comments on the matter confirm a return to the Panthers could have taken place as the campaign wound down. By that point, though, Carolina was well out of contention for a playoff spot.

“I had the concussion and for a week after it was a little touch-and-go, but I went to the Mayo Clinic down in Jacksonville, got a second opinion, got [a] full clear bill of health,” the 30-year-old said, via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.

“The only reason I sat out as long as I did was just, from the [Panthers’] front office, there was really no point. They were 2-15, or 2-13 at the time, so there was really no point in rushing back.”

At the time that decision was made, Hurst had two years remaining on his contract – a $21.75MM pact signed last offseason. As such, caution in advance of the 2025 campaign would have been reasonable given the team’s situation to close out a campaign in which head coach Frank Reich (and, on Black Monday, general manager Scott Fitterer) were dismissed. However, new general manager Dan Morgan released Hurst at the beginning of March, leaving him on the open market once again.

That set up the former first-rounder’s one-year Chargers agreement, one which will see him re-unite with offensive coordinator Greg Roman (after the pair worked together with the Ravens) and play alongside fellow tight end Will Dissly in Los Angeles’ new-look offense. Putting together a healthy campaign will help Hurst rebound from last year’s concussion while also boosting his 2025 free agent prospects.

TE Hayden Hurst Signs With Chargers

MARCH 15: The Chargers have officially sealed the deal here, signing Hurst to a contract that brings him to Los Angeles, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic. Hurst becomes the latest change to the offense, joining Dissly and Gus Edwards as additions in LA while the team says “so long” to veteran wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

MARCH 14: The Chargers have already made one notable tight end addition in the form of Will DisslyLos Angeles is set to host Hayden Hurst as well, though, and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports the latter intends to sign with the team.

Hurst was released by the Panthers last week after one season with the team. His debut campaign in Charlotte was cut short due to a concussion which resulted in a diagnosis of post-traumatic amnesia, and Carolina elected to move on despite two years remaining on his deal. As Fowler notes, though, Hurst has moved quickly in taking a visit with the Chargers. If that goes well (particularly with respect to a medical evaluation), the former first-rounder will have a new home.

Hurst was drafted by the Ravens in 2018, a time when Joe Hortiz played a central role in Baltimore’s scouting efforts. After a lengthy tenure with Baltimore’s front office, Hortiz is now the Chargers’ general manager. Hurst, 30, thus represents a familiar addition for Los Angeles’ new executive regime. Having played under John Harbaugh in Baltimore, he will now work with Jim Harbaugh; the new Bolts head coach’s connection to his brother is no doubt a factor in this impending arrangement.

After his minor league baseball career ended, Hurst entered the NFL with considerable expectations given his draft status. Fellow 2018 draftee Mark Andrews claimed the Ravens’ starting TE role, though, leading Hurst to request a trade and find himself in Atlanta. The Falcons drafted Kyle Pitts after his first season with the team, limiting his usage during the 2021 campaign. That was followed by one-year stints with Cincinnati and Carolina, during which time Hurst started 21 of a possible 22 contests.

The South Carolina alum will now compete for playing time with Dissly, who agreed to a three-year, $14MM deal on Monday. He and Hurst will take over from Gerald Everett in the starting lineup after his free agent departure. Hurst will re-join offensive coordinator Greg Roman if a Chargers deal goes through; the two worked together in Baltimore. Roman has an affinity for the run game and two-tight end sets, a setup which could benefit both Dissly and Hurst. The latter will aim to remain healthy in 2024 while again trying to carve out a starter’s role.

Panthers To Release TE Hayden Hurst

Hayden Hurst suffered a concussion that kept him from playing throughout the season’s second half. A report of the veteran tight end suffering post-traumatic amnesia surfaced.

Illustrating the importance of fully guaranteed money, Hurst is now set to be released. A year after signing Hurst to a three-year deal, the Panthers are moving on, according to The Athletic’s Joseph Person. The Panthers did give Hurst a chance to remain on the team at a reduced salary, but Person adds the former first-round pick declined the pay-cut option. The terms of the proposed pay reduction are not known.

Despite Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki being franchise-tagged in 2022, Hurst collected last year’s top free agent tight end contract — a three-year, $21.75MM deal. That came with $13MM fully guaranteed. No additional injury guarantees are included in Hurst’s deal, but that $13MM is certainly important in a transaction like this. Hurst missed last season’s final eight games due to the concussion he suffered against the Bears.

Because this transaction is being tabbed as one set to take place at the start of the 2024 league year, it is safe to assume Carolina will use a post-June 1 designation here. Even in that capacity, the team will only save $2.1MM while incurring more than $7MM in dead money. Hurst was set to make $5.75MM in 2024 base salary. He will be released before a $1.85MM roster bonus vests on March 16. Teams have two post-June 1 designations to use each year.

A former minor league baseball player, Hurst returned to football and crafted a first-round prospect resume at South Carolina. The Ravens took him in the 2018 first round, but after seeing third-round pick Mark Andrews become an immediate impact player, the team traded Hurst to the Falcons in 2020. Hurst and Kyle Pitts teamed up in 2021, but seeing as the Falcons used a No. 4 overall pick on Pitts, it did not make Hurst a priority. The Bengals signed Hurst to a one-year deal in 2022, and he served as an auxiliary Joe Burrow option on a team that came close to booking a second straight Super Bowl trip.

After Hurst’s father revealed the above-referenced post-traumatic amnesia diagnosis, the tight end described that label as worse than it sounded. Hurst tweeted last year he does not remember “up to 4 hours after the game (against the Bears).” The 30-year-old pass catcher was allowed to remain in the game following the hit, being placed in the protocol after the contest.

Part of a poor Panthers offense in 2023, Hurst does not stand to do too well on this year’s market. The $13MM guarantee number softens the blow. Hurst surpassed 25 receiving yards in just two games last season. He does have a 571-yard season (2020) on his resume and attracted the Panthers’ attention after a 414-yard Bengals campaign. Hurst joins Jonnu Smith, Noah Fant and Hunter Henry as the top names on this year’s market. The Texans just re-signed Schultz.

Panthers To Place Hayden Hurst On IR

Hayden Hurst‘s comments detailing the head injury he suffered last month pointed to a hopeful late-season return. The Panthers are, however, expected to exercise caution with their offseason tight end pickup.

Carolina is planning to place Hurst on IR, The Athletic’s Joe Person notes. With players stashed on IR required to miss four games, this move will end the veteran tight end’s season. Hurst has not played since suffering a concussion Nov. 9. The Panthers gave the former Ravens, Falcons and Bengals pass catcher a three-year, $21.75MM deal in March.

Hurst’s father shared recently that an independent neurologist diagnosed the veteran tight end with post-traumatic amnesia, and the former first-round pick confirmed the diagnosis. While Hurst said the post-traumatic amnesia assessment “sounds way worse,” he did add he could not remember anything up to four hours following that November game against the Bears.

The 30-year-old tight end had not stood out prior to suffering the scary injury, but no non-Adam Thielen presence in Carolina’s offense has fared particularly well during this woeful season. The Panthers made Hurst this offseason’s highest-paid tight end signee; he totaled 18 receptions for 184 yards and a touchdown in nine games. Hurst has never been a prolific receiving tight end. The Ravens found a better aerial option two rounds later in the 2018 draft, in Mark Andrews, leading to a 2020 trade. A year after acquiring Hurst, the Falcons drafted Kyle Pitts fourth overall.

Considering what happened in Chicago, Hurst having locked in $13MM guaranteed at signing proves pivotal. Although a new coaching staff will come in after Hurst signed to play in Frank Reich‘s offense, his $5.75MM 2024 base salary is guaranteed.

Panthers TE Hayden Hurst Addresses NFL Future

Among tight ends, Hayden Hurst received the most guaranteed money this offseason. The former first-round pick signed with the Panthers on a three-year, $21.75MM deal that came with $13MM fully guaranteed. A midseason concussion has stalled Hurst in Carolina.

Concerningly, Hurst’s father shared that an independent neurologist diagnosed the veteran tight end with post-traumatic amnesia. The 30-year-old pass catcher has not played since entering concussion protocol after a Nov. 9 game against the Bears. Interim Carolina HC Chris Tabor said Hurst is progressing, and the former minor league baseball player said he is not planning to retire as a result of this injury.

I’m doing better each day,” Hurst said, via ESPN.com’s David Newton. “It’s not going to end my career, just being cautious as I come back. Should be another week or two.”

While Hurst confirmed the diagnosis (via Newton), he said the post-traumatic amnesia assessment “sounds way worse.” The Cleveland Clinic defines post-traumatic amnesia as developing after an injury. The condition can bring confusion due to the afflicted person’s “difficulty remembering where they are, how they got there or any new information since the injury.” Hurst tweeted that he does not remember “up to 4 hours after the game (against the Bears).” The South Carolina alum was allowed to remain in the game following the hit, being placed in the protocol after the contest.

Early retirements as a result of concussions have become more commonplace in the NFL. The best defender in Panthers history, Luke Kuechly, is the most notable example. The perennial All-Pro made a surprising call to retire after the 2019 season. Kuechly, who retired at 28, suffered three confirmed concussions during his decorated career.

Hurst is midway through his sixth NFL season. The Ravens drafted him 25th overall in 2018, bringing him in two rounds before adding Mark Andrews. With Andrews becoming Baltimore’s clear-cut top option in the passing game, the team traded Hurst to Atlanta in 2020. After two seasons with the Falcons, Hurst signed a one-year, $3.5MM Bengals deal. Last season, Hurst caught 52 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns. Despite Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki being franchise tag recipients last year, Hurst commanded a better contract than both this offseason.

Hurst’s $5.75MM base salary next season is guaranteed. On a Panthers team that has become the NFL’s worst, Hurst was off to a slow start before the concussion; in nine games, he caught 18 passes for 184 yards. While the ex-Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand expects to be back in action before season’s end, he did well to score the guarantee he did during his second free agency stay.

Panthers TE Hayden Hurst Undergoes Hernia Surgery

One of the many new faces in the Panthers’ pass-catching corps is Hayden Hurst. The veteran tight end is in line for a starting role in Carolina, but he will be missing time in his first offseason with his new team.

Hurst recently underwent sports hernia surgery, head coach Frank Reich said (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Joe Person). Reich added that there is no timetable for Hurst’s recovery. The latter has the chance to operate as a key member of the Panthers’ skill position group this year, after stints with the Ravens, Falcons and Bengals to begin his career.

Finding an environment in which he can be a team’s undisputed starter has proven to be challenging for the former first-rounder. Hurst played in a rotational role in Baltimore for two years, and the presence of Mark Andrews made him a logical trade candidate. He had a career-year in Atlanta in 2020 with a 56-571-6 statline. The Falcons’ decision to draft Kyle Pitts in 2021, however, left Hurst in need of another new opportunity, something which led to his one-and-done year with the Bengals.

The South Carolina product put up the second-highest reception (52) and yardage (414) totals of his career in Cincinnati in 2022, though the team ultimately decided to go in a different direction, eventually signing Irv Smith Jr. as a free agent. By that time, Hurst had already inked a three-year, $21.75MM deal with Carolina. The latter joined wideouts Adam Thielen and DJ Chark as veteran pass-catchers brought in to give an offense which will be led by rookie quarterback Bryce Young plenty of experience on that side of the ball.

Hurst, 29, faces notable expectations in 2023 given the lucrative nature of his contract and the first-team role he should occupy with the Panthers. His absence will be felt while he recovers from the procedure, while Carolina will turn to the likes of Ian Thomas, Tommy Tremble and Stephen Sullivan at the TE spot during OTAs.

Jonah Williams Trade Market Limited; Bengals T Blindsided By Brown Signing

Jonah Williams requested a trade out of Cincinnati shortly after the team gave Orlando Brown a four-year, $64MM contract. While many around the league view Brown’s best position as right tackle, the Bengals are accommodating the former Ravens and Chiefs blocker’s wish to play on the left side.

When the Bengals signed Brown, Williams learned about it like the rest of the football world did. The three-year Cincinnati left tackle starter was “blindsided” by the move, Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. The Bengals have talked about wanting Williams at right tackle, but Conway adds they did not communicate those plans to the former first-round pick ahead of time.

It is not exactly uncommon for teams to move forward with big-picture plans without informing players those strategies will affect, though franchises have made a habit of alerting quarterbacks to future additions at the position in recent years. The Bengals, however, did not expect to land Brown. The Pro Bowl tackle’s reps contacted the team, according to Bengals director of pro scouting Steven Radicevic (via The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr.).

Nearly three days after the legal tampering period gave agents permission to negotiate with teams, Brown remained unsigned. The Bengals entered free agency wanting to re-sign Vonn Bell, Germaine Pratt, Hayden Hurst and Samaje Perine, Dehner adds, noting the team viewed Jessie Bates as out of its price range. Bates signed a four-year, $64MM Falcons deal on the tampering period’s first day. Bell’s age prompted the Bengals to set a firm ceiling on his negotiations, leading the eighth-year safety to the Panthers, who later signed Hurst to what turned out to be this year’s top tight end deal. Perine defected to the Broncos for terms nearly identical to what the Bengals offered.

Brown’s camp showed interest in the Bengals on March 14; the sides agreed to terms March 15. Seeking a job on another contender, Brown said Joe Burrow‘s presence attracted him to Cincinnati; the Bengals will give him $42.4MM in the deal’s first two years. The upfront cash sealed the deal, per Dehner. The Bengals were looking at free agent tackles, Dehner adds, but initially eyeing lower-priced options. One of those coming to Cincinnati may not have led to Williams being moved off his starting spot without competition, but Brown’s pedigree will. As a result, Williams wants out.

Zac Taylor said this week he expects Williams to be back and partake in a competition at right tackle, a position the former has not played since his freshman season at Alabama. Going into a contract year, Williams wants to stay at his position.

We want guys that are willing to do to help us win games,” Taylor said, via Conway. “And I understand there’s comfort levels playing certain sides. Trust me, I played quarterback so I’m not going to sit there and pretend that I’ve got experience moving from right guard to left guard. I know that there’s some reps that need to take place to feel completely comfortable with that, but most of these guys have done it at some point in their career. So they’ve at least got experience doing it and that’s just the way it will go for us.”

Williams’ 6-foot-4, 305-pound frame was a factor in the team prioritizing the 6-8, 340-pound Brown, Conway adds, and Dehner notes Collins’ injury issues — which also included a back problem that prevented the ex-Cowboys standout from practicing on Wednesdays last season — and struggles in pass protection led to the Bengals pursuing tackles. Bengals O-line coach Frank Pollack has said the plan is for Collins to compete for the job, and Taylor alluded to former second-round pick Jackson Carman — a converted guard the team moved to tackle to replace Williams during the playoffs — being part of it as well.

Although an early report surfaced indicating Williams was generating interest from several teams, Outkick.com’s Armando Salguero notes no team has proven willing to send the Bengals a high draft choice for their hopeful right tackle. Williams is due $12.6MM on his fifth-year option this season. Teams like the Colts, Jets and Buccaneers would make sense as Williams destinations, but as of now, he is ticketed for what would be an unusual position battle with Collins, whom the Bengals gave a three-year, $21MM deal in 2022, and potentially Carman.

Both Williams and Collins are coming off season-ending knee injuries; Williams suffered a dislocated kneecap and Collins ACL and MCL tears. These maladies played a major role in the Chiefs prevailing in the teams’ AFC championship game rematch despite a gimpy Patrick Mahomes. Brown switching sides in this rivalry may lead to another falling domino, but as of now, no Williams trade is imminent.

Panthers Expected To Sign TE Hayden Hurst

Post-D.J. Moore, the Panthers are in need of multiple pass catchers. They are planning to visit with Adam Thielen later on Wednesday, but they are also addressing their tight end spot. Hayden Hurst is expected to sign with Carolina, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

A former first-round pick, Hurst spent last season with the Bengals. He joined Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki as the top available tight ends on this year’s market. Hurst is signing a three-year deal with the Panthers, Insidethebirds.com’s Adam Caplan tweets. The contract will check in at $21.75MM with $13MM guaranteed at signing, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Not bad for the South Carolina product, who signed for just $2MM guaranteed last year.

The ex-minor league baseball player will join his second NFC South team and fourth overall. Toggling between the AFC North and NFC South, Hurst spent two seasons in Baltimore and two in Atlanta prior to his Cincinnati one-off. Going into his age-30 season, Hurst will join a Panthers team that has not gotten much from its tight end spot since Greg Olsen‘s foot injuries began to pile up.

Stepping in for free agency defection C.J. Uzomah, Hurst caught 52 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns last season. He added 13 more grabs and another score in the playoffs, but the Bengals will continue to make changes at tight end after allowing another starter to leave in free agency.

Ian Thomas led Panthers tight ends in receiving yards in each of the past three seasons, but the offense did not feature much of a threat at this position. None of Thomas’ past three yardage totals eclipsed 200. Olsen, who racked up 597 yards in 2019, is the most recent Panther tight end to clear 200 in a season. The team signed Dan Arnold in 2021 but included him in a trade for C.J. Henderson in 2021. Hurst’s career-high mark came in 2020 — 571 — before the Falcons drafted Kyle Pitts fourth overall.

Hurst’s baseball past makes him a bit older than his NFL draft class; he is heading into his age-30 season. But the Panthers will make the former Pitts mentor and Ravens first-rounder a key part of their first Frank Reich-directed passing game. They still have work to do at receiver, and it is not known which quarterback will be Charlotte-bound via the No. 1 overall pick. But said rookie (and Andy Dalton, most likely) will be targeting Hurst in 2023.

Bengals Make Three Waiver Claims

SEPTEMBER 2: To no surprise, the Bengals are indeed re-signing Allen, Thomas and Williams now that they have the open roster spots to do so, per a team announcement. Cincinnati is also placing safety Tycen Anderson and tackle Isaiah Prince on IR.

AUGUST 31: The Bengals have made some notable additions in the aftermath of yesterday’s roster cutdowns. Per the waiver wire, they have claimed tight end Devin Asiasiguard Max Scharping and defensive tackle Jay Tufele.

[RELATED: Bengals Expected To Sign TE Howard]

Asiasi came to New England with significant expectations, given his draft status and the organization’s success at the position. The third-rounder made just 10 appearances in his first two seasons, though, recording only a pair of receptions. The Patriots made a substantial free agent investment in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith last offseason, limiting his future with the team. In Cincinnati, he will face steep competition for playing time from Hayden Hurst and, in all likelihood, O.J. Howard.

Scharping is in a similar situation to Asiasi in terms of being an underwhelming high draft choice yet to finish their rookie contract. A 2019 second-rounder, the 26-year-old started 33 of the 48 contests he appeared in with the Texans, moving from the left to right guard spot this past season. Regardless of where he lined up, the Northern Illinois alum graded out in the mid-to-high 50s with respect to PFF rating, leaving him on the roster bubble. Scharping’s vacated spot is likely to be filled by A.J. Cann; he will challenge for a backup role behind top free agent addition Alex Cappa with the Bengals.

Tufele, meanwhile, has seen the least playing time of the new trio. As a rookie last season, he made just four appearances in Jacksonville, totaling two tackles. His PFF pass rush grade of 77 indicates some upside on third downs, which dates back to his time in college. Moving on from the USC alum so soon may have come as a surprise, though the additions of Folorunso Fatukasi and Adam Gotsis along the d-line were likely to significantly lessen his chance of seeing significant playing time with the Jaguars. The Bengals lost Larry Ogunjobi in free agency, but re-upped B.J. Hill, whom Tufele will look to provide depth behind his new home.

The defending AFC champions will return many of the members of last season’s team, but these additions could prove effective at areas of relative need. Among the cuts necessary to accommodate the new arrivals is veteran quarterback Brandon Allen. The 29-year-old signed a one-year deal for the third consecutive offseason to remain in Cincinnati.

For now, Allen’s departure leaves the Bengals with only Joe Burrow under center. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets, however, that Allen “will be back.” Cincinnati is also parting ways with safety Michael Thomas and running back Trayveon Williams.

Bengals To Sign Hayden Hurst

The Bengals appear to have found a short-term replacement for C.J. Uzomah. Cincinnati is signing tight end Hayden Hurst, to a one-year deal according to ESPN’s Field Yates (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Jets To Sign C.J. Uzomah]

Hurst, 28, started his career in Baltimore. He flashed potential in two campaigns with the Ravens, totalling 43 catches and 512 yards in 28 games. With Mark Andrews ahead of him on the depth chart, however, it became clear that Hurst would need to go elsewhere to have an opportunity as a starter. He requested – and was granted – a trade to Atlanta in 2020.

In his first season with the Falcons, the former first rounder played closer to the level he was capable of with increased playing time. He totalled 56 catches for 571 yards and six touchdowns. However, the Falcons drafted Kyle Pitts last offseason, which again limited Hurst’s target share. It’s not surprising, then, that he is on the move again.

In Cincinnati, Hurst will step into a sizeable opening left by Uzomah’s departure. His production in the passing game – along with his blocking ability – should keep him on the field for a Bengals offense which was among the league’s best in 2021. This addition should help compliment the team’s talented WR trio enough for the Bengals to replicate their success in the passing game.