It was a bit of a surprise, but the Los Angeles Chargers have decided against giving Hunter Henry the franchise tag and are allowing him to leave the team after four seasons. At just 26, Henry’s best years are likely still ahead of him, and if he lands at the right team, he could push to be a top-5 fantasy tight end in 2021, having finished at the TE12 last year, and the TE9 in 2019.
I’ve identified four landing spots that would best allow Henry to reach his potential and be a fantasy stud at one of the toughest fantasy positions to nail at draft time.
Only the New England Patriots had a worse return from their tight ends in 2020. The Panthers did not see Ian Thomas step into the Greg Olsen role when he left for the Seahawks. Adding Henry would give Teddy Bridgewater another target, and with Curtis Samuel set to leave in free agency, there is opportunity in an offense that will look to break out in Matt Rhule’s second year.
Another team that struggled to get much production out of the tight end position in 2020, not helped by Joe Burrow’s season-ending knee injury and some questionable quarterback play from Ryan Finley and Brandon Allen as replacements. With Burrow back, the Bengals need to look to add weapons to support him and a top tier tight end in Henry would be a great safety blanket. Burrow averaged 40 attempts per game as a rookie, so targets would not be an issue, and neither is cap space, with the Bengals’ some $40m below the cap. After protecting him, giving your young franchise quarterback another weapon to throw to should be a no-brainer for the Bengals.
Not only do the Jaguars hold the number one pick in the draft, they have the most cap space of any team so should be looking to load up their new franchise quarterback with weapons. Pairing a young QB with a top tight end is a recipe for success and Henry being a focal point of an offense is what we’re looking for from his next team.
Let’s give Kyler Murray another option in the passing game shall we? The Cardinals got bottom 10 fantasy production from the tight end position in 2020, and having a proven commodity in Henry could give the Cardinals offense the lift they need to be a top 10 offense in 2021. For anyone who got carried away by the Dan Arnold hype in 2020, Henry would immediately be an upgrade at the position and would allow Henry as a fantasy favorite.
Where do you think Hunter Henry will play in 2021?