Hunter Henry

Patriots’ Hunter Henry To Miss Time?

Patriots tight end Hunter Henry is expected to miss “a couple of weeks” as he nurses a shoulder injury (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Fortunately, Schefter hears it’s not especially serious, so Henry hopes to be ready in time for Week 1.

[RELATED: Patriots’ McMillan Tears ACL]

Henry inked a three-year, $37.5MM deal with the Patriots in March. The pact included $25MM in full guarantees, proof that the Pats are confident in his long-term health. However, if he misses time, the Patriots still have fellow newcomer Jonnu Smith to lead the way.

Henry missed the entire 2018 campaign with a torn ACL. He’s played at least 12 games in his other four seasons, he also never played a full 16 while with the Chargers. In 2020, Henry hauled in 60 catches for 613 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games.

Smith, meanwhile, is set to earn a whopping $50MM over the next four years with $31.25MM guaranteed. The former Titan enjoyed his best year yet in 2020, posting 41 grabs for 448 yards and eight touchdowns.

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Patriots To Sign Hunter Henry

The Patriots will sign tight end Hunter Henry to a three-year, $37.5MM deal, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The former Chargers tight end will receive $25MM guaranteed as a part of the deal.

Henry will join the newly-acquired Jonnu Smith, giving the Patriots the top two tight ends in free agency. Together, they’ll help to fill the long-standing void left by Rob Gronkowski‘s departure.

Henry missed the entire 2018 campaign with a torn ACL, and although he’s played at least 12 games in his other four seasons, he’s also never played a full 16. Still, the Chargers’ decision to let Henry test the open market came as a surprise. This past season he had 60 catches for 613 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games. The tag would have cost them ~$13MM for one year.

The Patriots revamped offense will also feature former 49ers receiver Kendrick Bourne and ex-Raiders WR Nelson Agholor.

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AFC West Notes: V. Miller, Henry, T. Brown

Here’s a quick roundup of some AFC West rumblings:

  • There is still no clarity on whether the Broncos will bring back LB Von Miller in 2021. As Mike Klis of 9News.com writes, new Denver GM George Paton met with Miller for the first time last week, and Klis believes a paycut is no longer on the table. Miller is due an $18MM salary in 2021, and by March 16, Paton must decide whether to pick up an option that would guarantee $7MM of that $18MM payout. While the Broncos would prefer to have Miller take a cut, given that he missed the entire 2020 season, J.J. Watt‘s new $14MM/year deal with the Cardinals suggests that Miller would be disinclined to do so. Which means that Paton has the difficult task of deciding between a major financial hit for an aging star coming off a serious injury and releasing one of the greatest defensive players in franchise history. The good news is that Miller appears to be back to full speed, at least according to a workout video he recently posted to Instagram.
  • The Chargers decided against putting the franchise tag on TE Hunter Henry, but Henry is still open to returning to the Bolts. “I will say I’m not ruling out the Chargers,” Henry recently told TMZ Sports. “I’m not ruling out the Chargers and I won’t rule out the Chargers.” Though Henry comes with some health concerns, he is also just 26 and still has the chance to be one of the league’s top receiving TEs. He also has the chance to serve as one of Justin Herbert‘s top targets for the foreseeable future — a proposition that he admits could lead him back to LA — but he will have no shortage of suitors when the legal tampering period opens tomorrow.
  • Before he was traded to the Patriots, former Raiders tackle Trent Brown was considered a release candidate. But as Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets, Vegas had no intention of cutting Brown (at least not yet). The club planned to bring him to training camp to earn his keep, but New England’s offer, along with Brown’s willingness to rework his contract, triggered the deal. Still, Brown’s hold on his roster spot in Vegas couldn’t have been very strong, as the Raiders dealt him and a 2022 seventh-rounder for a 2022 fifth-rounder.

Chargers Won’t Franchise Tag Hunter Henry

Another big name is officially hitting free agency. The Chargers will not be franchise tagging Hunter Henry, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Los Angeles tagged Henry last offseason, and although they apparently got close at one point on an extension last spring, nothing happened over the summer and he played 2020 under the tag. This one is a bit of a surprise, as many expected the Chargers to tag the young tight end again this time around. It’s not too often that a player like Henry hits the open market at the age of 26.

He should have no shortage of suitors, and will likely become one of the league’s highest-paid players at his position. The 2016 second-round pick broke out right away as a rookie, scoring eight touchdowns in his first season. This past season he had 60 catches for 613 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games.

Henry missed the entire 2018 campaign with a torn ACL, and although he’s played at least 12 games in his other four seasons, he’s also never played a full 16. This tag decision certainly doesn’t rule out a return to the Chargers, it just means the team didn’t want to be on the hook for the nearly $13MM cap hit from the tag.

If the Chargers do let him walk, they’ll immediately be in the market for a new tight end for Justin Herbert. Perhaps they were one of the teams calling on Zach Ertz recently.

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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.

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No Deal For Chargers, Hunter Henry

The Chargers and Hunter Henry won’t have an extension in place by the afternoon deadline, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. There was strong mutual interest in a long term arrangement, but the current economic client scuttled any potential deal.

Henry has already signed his one-year, $11MM tender, so he’s locked in for the upcoming season. Back in April, Henry said he was “close” to inking an extension at some point, but a deal never came together. Now, he’s playing on a prove-it deal, and he mostly needs to prove that he can stay healthy.

The former second-rounder missed all of 2018 with a ACL tear and also missed time last year with a knee injury. At the same time, 2019 was a career year for Henry – he tallied 55 catches for 652 yards and five touchdowns in just 12 games.

It’s not an ideal outcome for Henry, but he does have the honor of being the first tight end to receive the franchise tag since 2014, when the Saints used it to cuff Jimmy Graham. For now, Henry says he’s focused on the present.

“To me, I have so much to prove,” Henry said recently. “Honestly, everybody knows my history of injuries. Unfortunate injuries that have happened in my career and I feel like that has held me back a little bit sometimes. I’m just eager to kinda get through something that I haven’t been able to do for a full season…I feel the best I’ve felt in probably a couple years, for sure. I’m excited.”

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Chargers TE Hunter Henry Not Expecting Extension

With only four days to go until the extension deadline for tagged players, tight end Hunter Henry doesn’t see himself signing a deal with the Chargers.

“I don’t think anything will get done, but we’ll see,” Henry told Gilbert Manzano of the OC Register.

[RELATED: Status Of Tagged Players Prior To July 15 Extension Deadline]

“I’m not worried about it,” Henry added. “I’m just going to go out there. I get a chance to play this year and do my thing this year. I’m pretty locked in on what I got ahead of me in the 2020 season. That’s what I’m locked in for, you know, I don’t like to look too far ahead.”

The Chargers slapped Henry with the franchise tag earlier this offseason, and the tight end subsequently signed the $11MM tender. Back in April, Henry said he had been “close” to inking an extension with the organization, but a deal never materialized.

The former second-rounder has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, but he’s been productive when he’s seen the field. 2019 was a career year for Henry, as he hauled in 55 receptions for 652 yards and five scores in 12 games. As Manzano explains, the 25-year-old’s pseudo-one-year contract is effectively a “prove-it deal,” and Henry has the opportunity to earn a significant payday if he improves his numbers in 2020.

“To me, I have so much to prove,” Henry said. “Honestly, everybody knows my history of injuries. Unfortunate injuries that have happened in my career and I feel like that has held me back a little bit sometimes. I’m just eager to kinda get through something that I haven’t been able to do for a full season.

“I think that’s the biggest thing I’m focusing on. Just trying to stay healthy. I’ve just had some unfortunate injuries come my way. I feel the best I’ve felt in probably a couple years, for sure. I’m excited.”

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Status Of All 15 Tagged Players Prior to July 15 Extension Deadline

The clock is ticking for tagged players to sign extensions with their teams, per the league calendar.

July 15: At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2020 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.

With less than nine days remaining until the deadline, let’s take a look at where each of the 15 tagged players stand.

Already Signed Tag

*Received transition tag (vs. franchise tag)

Haven’t Signed Tag, Won’t Hold Out

Haven’t Signed Tag, Threatening Hold Out

Chargers, Hunter Henry Were “Close” On Extension

Earlier this month, Hunter Henry signed his one-year franchise tender worth roughly $11MM. At one time this offseason, the tight end says that he was “close” with the Chargers on an extension that would have locked him in for longer (Twitter links via Daniel Popper of The Athletic). 

[RELATED: Chargers Would Have Been Happy With Tua Or Herbert At No. 6]

We’re gonna try to extend and get something long term,” Henry said, before adding that he never considered a holdout.

Per the terms of the franchise tag, the two sides have until the July 15th deadline to hammer something out. If a deal doesn’t come together by that point, they’ll have to table negotiations until early 2021, after the season is through.

There’s clearly mutual interest in a long-term deal, but it won’t come cheap for the Bolts. This year, the Browns made Austin Hooper the highest-paid tight end in league history with a four-year, $42MM free agent deal. That’ll be a reference point for Henry and his reps, and the asking price will only increase once George Kittle inks his deal with the 49ers.

Henry missed all of 2018 with a ACL tear and also lost a quarter of the 2019 season with a knee injury. Despite that, GM Tom Telesco cuffed Henry with the franchise tag, making him the first tight end to receive the tag since Jimmy Graham way back in 2014.

In his 12-game campaign, Henry still managed career highs in catches (55) and yards (652). Both sides are incentivized to get an extension completed this year, but Henry would have an obscene amount of leverage in talks if he played out the year at 100% health and replicated that production.

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Chargers TE Hunter Henry To Sign Franchise Tag

Chargers tight end Hunter Henry will sign his franchise tag on Monday afternoon, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). With that, he’ll return to the Bolts on a one-year, ~$11MM guaranteed deal. 

Last month, the Chargers made Henry the first tight end to be franchise tagged since Jimmy Graham in 2014. Despite the injury concerns, the Chargers were unwilling to leave things to chance. Now, they have Henry locked in for at least one more year and they have a few months to negotiate a long-term deal with the 25-year-old. If they’re unable to come to terms, they’ll have to wait until after the 2020 season to revisit talks.

The Chargers might not rush matters – Henry missed the entire 2018 season with a torn ACL and missed four games last year with a knee injury, so they might want to see how he looks before making a major commitment.

In just 12 games last season, Henry posted career highs in catches (55) and yards (652). If he can stay healthy for a full year alongside Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, the Chargers will project to have one of the league’s most potent offenses. Of course, it remains to be seen who will be throwing the ball to them. For now, Tyrod Taylor is set to be the man under center.

In March, the Browns made Austin Hooper the highest-paid tight end of all-time with a four-year, $42MM deal. Soon, George Kittle is expected to take over that mantle, but Henry might not be far behind if he can stay healthy and play up to expectations.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.