After parting with D.J. Moore in a blockbuster trade to acquire the No. 1 overall pick, the Carolina Panthers are going to need to do everything they can to build a sufficient supporting cast around an eventual rookie quarterback. On Wednesday morning, they got the ball rolling in that direction.

According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, the Panthers are expected to sign Hayden Hurt. The former 2018 first-round pick will be signing a three-year contract to become Carolina’s starting tight end, reports ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler. Hurst will join a tight end room in Carolina that includes Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas.

Hurst was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, who later traded him to the Atlanta Falcons, where he enjoyed a career year in 2020. After spending two years in Atlanta and having his fifth-year option declined, Hurst signed a free-agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals and became one of Joe Burrow’s more reliable targets in 2022. This past season, the 29-year-old Hurst hauled in 52 catches with 414 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Now, he’ll likely be a security blanket for whoever Carolina selects with the No. 1 overall pick. While he wasn’t the biggest remaining skill player on the free agent market, he’ll certainly add value to head coach Frank Reich’s offense in 2023 and beyond.

[Ian Rapoprot on Twitter, Jeremy Fowler on Twitter]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.