Potential Patriots TE target Hunter Henry outlines free-agency priorities

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Justin Leger
·3 min read
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Why Hunter Henry signing with Pats seems like a long shot originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

After selecting two tight ends in the 2020 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots are still left with a giant question mark at the position.

Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene underwhelmed in their rookie campaigns, posting a combined five catches for 55 yards and one touchdown. There's a chance they'll rebound with a new quarterback in 2021, but the Patriots would be best served by snagging another tight end this offseason.

Perry: Which free-agent WRs are realistic options for Pats?

The top tight end set to hit the free-agent market is Hunter Henry. When healthy, the 26-year-old has proven to be one of the best all-around TEs in football. In 2020 with the Los Angeles Chargers, Henry finished with 60 catches for 613 yards and four TDs in 14 games.

With about $62.2 million of cap space heading into the offseason, the Patriots will be able to afford Henry. The question is, would the interest be mutual?

Henry discussed his free-agency priorities on SiriusXM NFL Radio, and it sounds like the Patriots have some work to do if they're going to persuade him to come to New England.

"I would be lying to you if I wasn't just, like, 'I'm not even gonna look at the money' or anything like that," Henry said. "That's part of it. That's part of our jobs and everything, 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. It makes things a lot easier ... Playing with a good quarterback always makes things better. You gotta look at both. You gotta 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.”

That quote doesn't bode well for the Patriots, who are left scrambling for a serviceable quarterback following a rough season with Cam Newton under center. If they hope to bring in a weapon of Henry's caliber, they'll likely have to fill the QB void with an intriguing name before the start of free agency.

The Chargers prevented Hunter Henry from hitting the market last year by slapping him with the franchise tag, and there's a chance that happens again this offseason. Or, L.A. could ink their standout tight end to a new contract and keep him with a promising young QB in Justin Herbert.

All things considered, Henry signing with the Patriots currently seems like a pipe dream.