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Panthers sign former first-round pick via free agency

Hayden Hurst, a former first-round pick out of South Carolina, has signed with the Carolina Panthers, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers added another offensive weapon to their roster Wednesday, signing former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurts. 

Hurst was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. His signing was first reported by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed but it is reportedly a three-year contract.

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Hurst spent two seasons with the Ravens before he was traded to Atlanta. After two seasons in Atlanta, Hurst signed a one-year contract with the Bengals in 2022. He had over 500 receiving yards and three touchdowns with the Bengals last year. 

Hurst was originally a baseball player before turning to football. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012. After spending two seasons with the organization, he walked on to play football at South Carolina. He was awarded a scholarship after his second season, becoming a star for the Gamecocks and earning All-SEC honors in 2017. 

The Panthers have made several free agency moves this week, including signing former Bengals Andy Dalton and Vonn Bell. They also beefed up the defensive line by signing a three-year deal with North Carolina native Shy Tuttle

General manager Scott Fitterer made waves across the NFL with a blockbuster trade that landed Carolina the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft. The Panthers sent wide receiver DJ Moore and a package of draft picks to Chicago in exchange for this year's No. 1 selection, which will presumably be used to land the team's next franchise quarterback. 

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