Packers: Hayden Hurst would be smart free-agent addition

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers need a tight end. They may need two.

A smart approach would be to pair a free-agent addition with an early draft pick. General manager Brian Gutekunst has done this on multiple occasions in recent offseasons, and with success.

Gutekunst signed Adrian Amos then drafted Darnell Savage when the Packers needed help at safety. He signed Za’Darius and Preston Smith before drafting Rashan Gary.

Even last offseason, Gutekunst signed Sammy Watkins and then drafted three wide receivers.

Adding a veteran and early draft pick at tight end would make sense this spring.

An affordable option in free agency could be Hayden Hurst, who is coming off a solid season with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The former first-round pick caught 52 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns in his first season with the Bengals.

But after helping Cincinnati reach the AFC Championship Game, Hurst is a free agent.

Hurst isn’t a superstar like Travis Kelce or George Kittle. He doesn’t need to be. He would give Green Bay a solid, reliable pass-catcher in the middle of the field, while also helping block. Hurst showed how important of a role he can play with the Bengals this past season.

If Jordan Love takes over as the Packers’ starting quarterback in 2023, it will be especially important to find him a reliable go-to target he can lean on.

The Packers may be able to find that player in the draft, but tight ends can take time to develop.

A perfect scenario would be to bring in a draft pick who can play alongside a veteran.

Hurst has featured in 70 regular-season games in his career for three different teams. He can help any team looking for a tight end this offseason, including the Packers.

If Hurst hits free agency, the Packers should have interest.