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Bengals sign Tanner Hudson to 53-man roster and Clay Johnston to practice squad

Hudson is arguably the best tight end the Bengals have, and he’s now on the 53-man roster.

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Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have signed Tanner Hudson to the 53-man roster, the team announced Wednesday. The Bengals also signed linebacker Clay Johnston to the practice squad.

A 2018 undrafted free agent out of Southern Arkansas, Hudson has spent time with the Buccaneers (2018-20), 49ers, (2021), and Giants (2022). He joined the Bengals practice squad late in the 2022 season.

In two games and 59 offensive snaps logged this season, Hudson has hauled in four passes on six targets for 48 yards and no touchdowns. He currently has a Pro Football Focus grade of 59.6, which is actually higher than Irv Smith (38.1), Mitchell Wilcox (43.0), and Drew Sample (52.4).

Hudson actually has the team’s highest run-blocking grade (81.0), albeit in just seven run-blocking snaps.

So...the Bengals ‘did’ manage to upgrade the tight end position this week?

All told, the Bengals pretty much had to sign Hudson at this point. Not only does the tight end position need some juice, but Hudson was out of practice squad elevations, so the only way he was seeing the field again this season was by being signed to the 53-man roster.

As for Johnston, the fourth-year player out of Baylor was acquired on waivers by the Bengals midway through the 2021 season. He played in 23 regular-season games (one start) for the Bengals from 2021-22, recording 11 defensive tackles and 14 special teams tackles.