The Chargers have a few high profile offensive players set to become free agents, including Philip Rivers, Hunter Henry, and Melvin Gordon. While they’ve already announced that they’ll be letting Rivers walk, they have no plans to let Henry follow him out the door.
Henry “absolutely” will be getting the franchise tag, from what Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports hears. We heard back in January that the Chargers were considering the transition tag for the young tight end, but it sounds like they aren’t even willing to take that risk. The transition tag is a non-exclusive tag that gives the team the right to match any offer that the player gets in free agency. This is shaping up to be the most exciting tight end market in years, with plenty of big names getting new deals. Austin Hooper is about to enter unrestricted free agency and is expected to land a huge contract, while George Kittle is reportedly likely to get a record-breaking extension soon.
Kittle is widely expected to reset the market, and the last we heard was he’ll get at a minimum $13MM annually. The top of the tight end market right now is currently around $10MM, and it will be interesting to see what the slightly lower tier guys like Henry and Hooper get.
The Chargers are going to have a new quarterback under center in 2020, and quite possibly a rookie, so it makes sense why they’d want a reliable tight end. Henry showed a lot of promise his first two years in the league, then missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL. He missed four games this past season with a different knee injury, racking up a very solid 652 yards and four touchdowns in 12 contests. The Arkansas product is still only 25, and with less than three full seasons under his belt, he should still have plenty of room to grow. The Chargers have indicated they want to work out a long-term deal, and it would be a bit of a surprise if he doesn’t get one at some point after he’s tagged.
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