David Becker/Associated Press
As Hunter Henry prepares to reach free agency for the first time in his career, the Los Angeles Chargers tight end has a very short checklist of what’s important to him—he wants to play with a top quarterback.
He confirmed as much in an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday.
“I want to play somewhere there’s a good quarterback,” Henry said. “That’s huge for our position. It makes things a lot easier.”
Henry, who played on the franchise tag last season, is arguably the top tight end available in free agency with Rob Gronkowski signaling his desire to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In 14 games last year, Henry caught 60 passes for 613 yards and four touchdowns—the fourth season with four or more scores in his career. Now he’s ready to cash in but isn’t ruling out a return to Los Angeles.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here, so I’m not going to ever rule that out, you know, with a young quarterback, me and Justin [Herbert] have formed a relationship,” Henry said. “But I think I’m open to whatever, and I think I kind of have to, in a way, but I really enjoyed my time and if that continues, I’ll be excited. If that doesn’t, then that would be a new step and a new place to kind of start again.”
It would be foolish for Henry not to consider playing elsewhere after entering the offseason as the best option among free agents in his position group.
Spotrac projects Henry’s market value at $10.9 million per year, which would make him the third-highest paid tight end behind George Kittle and Travis Kelce.
Whether or not Henry would take a discount to team up with a top QB remains to be seen. Considering the Chargers have nearly $34 million in cap space, Henry could just as easily decide to remain in L.A. and help continue Hebert’s development into an elite QB of his own right.