TE Hunter Henry Discusses Free Agency, Chargers

Hunter Henry could be in line for a significant pay day this offseason, as the 26-year-old will headline the class of free agent tight ends. Like any free agent, Henry is naturally looking to secure a lucrative contract in free agency, but the five-year veteran admitted that he’ll also be valuing his suitors’ quarterback situations.

“Obviously, you’ve got to look at it financially,” Henry said during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio (via Twitter). “That’s part of it, but I don’t think it’s all about that.

“I want to play somewhere there’s a good quarterback. That’s huge for our position … Playing with a good quarterback always makes things better. You got to look at both. You got to look at some of the financial stuff, but not dive too deep into it that you go chasing it because I also want to play with a good quarterback.”

Of course, some would naturally point to Henry’s incumbent team as a match. Justin Herbert had a standout rookie season, and Henry benefited by hauling in 60 receptions for 613 yards and four touchdowns. Henry noted his connection with Herbert, and he said he’d welcome a return to Los Angeles.

“I really enjoyed my time here, so I’m not going to ever rule that out,” Henry explained. “With a young quarterback, me and Justin have formed a relationship. But I think I’m open to whatever, and I kind of have to [be], in a way. But I’ve really enjoyed my time, and if that continues, I’ll be excited. If it doesn’t, then that will be a new step.”

Due to his lack of consistency and previous injury concerns, Henry will have a tough time reaching the average annual values of fellow tight ends George Kittle ($15MM) and Travis Kelce ($14.3MM). However, after being slapped with the franchise tag last offseason, Henry still ranked third in AVV at $10.6MM (a number that would climb if he’s franchised a second time). Austin Hooper managed to secure a four-year, $42MM deal last offseason ($10.5MM AAV), and that would be a logical financial framework for Henry’s next contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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9 comments on “TE Hunter Henry Discusses Free Agency, Chargers

  1. I just Butt-fumbled

    The chargers have no choice but to keep Hunter unless they will trade up to get Pitts.

      • itstimefordodgersbaseball

        I haven’t heard about Ertz yet but I’m thinking the Chargers just stick with Henry. Him and Herb would only get better together I’d imagine now that Hunter proved he can stay on the field.

  2. GoChargers

    I really like Hunter Henry and the Chargers offense needs a playmaker at tight end but I just hope they can resign him without breaking the bank. They need a lot of offensive line help first and foremost.

  3. Tony B

    Henry is not at Hooper’s level. And Cleveland bought Hooper high after two 70 catch seasons with an almost 80% completion rate.

    Henry is closer to Eric Ebron who got a 2 year $12m deal from Pittsburgh. With the salary cap limitations, too, Henry can’t get greedy. If he does even a little better than this, he will be fortunate.

    • carlos15

      Hooper did nothing this season. And other than his shortened final season in ATL has done nothing most of his career.

      • Tony B

        Well, back to back Pro Bowls in 18 and 19 headed into free agency.

        But fine … that means Henry is even worse. Pretty easy to compare.

      • cka2nd

        They’re both below the top tier, probably second tier tight ends. Henry gets about a yard-and-a-half more per catch than Hooper, and gets touchdowns at a slightly faster pace than Hooper, even setting aside his off-the-charts rookie TD production, while Hooper is a bit more likely to catch the ball. When they both play, they both catch roughly 3.5 passes per game. They were both the second most targeted receiver on their squad this year, and got about 15% of all targets (ditto for Hooper in 2019, and close to that in 2018). 70+ receptions is not that hard when you’re in a pass-happy offense, like Hooper was in in Atlanta. And neither of them are dropped pass masters like Eric Ebron!

        If they’re similar blockers, I’d probably throw a few more bucks Henry’s way than Hooper’s, and I think Henry’s deal will reflect that, but with a very low cap hit this year. In other words, a big prorated signing bonus with very little base salary in the first year of the deal.

        Eric Ebron?!?

  4. CoachWe

    Made $10.6 mil, or 5.2% of Cap for the Chargers. Chargers have almost 24 mill in Cap space so they better sign him to help their young QB. The Reason: Few TE’s can do what HH does (be a threat down field & Block). The market in the NFL is hot for “good” TE’s,.. bc their are few who can do both. Just One Example: HH is very high on Bill Belichick’s list, along with ehem,.. QB & WR:) BB has a man crush on him. I am simply saying that other teams will give HH 10+ mill/yr.

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