The Cincinnati Bengals added to their high-powered offense on Monday, signing tight end Irv Smith Jr to a one-year “prove it” deal. Smith had spent the first four seasons of his career as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. Two injury-wrecked seasons plus the addition of T.J. Hockenson during the 2022 campaign all but ensured Smith would be looking for new digs in 2023.
At first glance, this move is not exactly an earth-shattering one. But it could be a signing that benefits both parties in the short term. It certainly makes Smith somewhat intriguing from a fantasy viewpoint. But it certainly doesn’t make him a superstar.
Smith missed the entire 2021 season with a torn meniscus. He started the 2022 campaign healthy and on the game-day roster. But he couldn’t remain there for the full season. Smith suffered an ankle injury that robbed him of nine games. He was involved in the Vikings’ passing attack when healthy, commanding a 14% target share in the opening seven games of the season. But this boiled down to just 32 targets, a mark exceeded by 16 other TEs at that stage of the year. Smith turned these into 22 grabs for 168 yards with two touchdowns. He would only catch another three balls for 14 yards in 2022.