Patriots Eyeing A.J. Green & Top Free-Agent Tight End: Report

A.J. Green

Getty The Patriots appear likely to target A.J. Green and Hunter Henry in the NFL offseason

Tom Brady needs offensive weapons and it appears the New England Patriots have an interest in wide receiver A.J. Green and tight end Hunter Henry.

The Patriots enter the offseason with re-signing Brady as their No. 1 priority, which NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport previously detailed. Beyond that, they also have to worry about surrounding him with more suitable weapons than he had in the 2019 season.

According to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, Green and Henry are two names that have “consistently” come up as potential targets for the Patriots once free agency begins on March 18.

What A.J. Green & Hunter Henry Can Bring to the Patriots

Green went through a serious ankle injury in 2019, missing the entire season. However, he was one of the best receivers in the NFL before his injury. The 31-year-old Green was named to the Pro Bowl during his first seven seasons in the league and is a two-time All-Pro.

In the case of Henry, he has emerged as the Chargers’ starting tight end in recent years. The 25-year-old caught 55 passes for 652 yards and five touchdowns in just 12 games last season. However, he does have a history of injuries, missing the entire 2018 regular season due to a torn ACL along with the first four games of the season 2019 season due to a tibia fracture.

‘Feeling’ Around NFL is That Brady Will Re-Sign

Not only does Miller mention that the Patriots will target the aforementioned two receiving weapons, but he also states that the feeling around the NFL is that Brady will re-sign with New England.

This is a major void that the Patriots have to fill heading into next season. It also will likely play a role in contract negotiations between Brady and New England.

In fact, it was reported as recently as last week that Brady favored the Patriots upgrading the receiving core more than his own salary.

Via Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports:

“It was reiterated to me, however, that this isn’t about the money for Brady. It’s about appreciation for what he’s done and can still do.

That appreciation can be shown as much by getting experienced, high-level talent around him as it can with a dollar amount. But the timing for that will be tough for the Patriots.

The past two seasons, the Patriots did little in the offseason to staff the offense around Brady. There were a variety of reasons for that but the final result was an offense that was frustratingly and increasingly punchless.”

It’s no secret that Brady and the Patriots offense struggled more than they have in years during the 2019 season. In fact, Brady’s quarterback rating, completion percentage and yards per attempt all ranked below 25th in the league during the 2019 campaign.

The retirement of tight end Rob Gronkowski hurt, but so did the sudden release of Antonio Brown after one game along with the decision to cut Josh Gordon after he was injured in a Week 6 game.

It was clear entering the playoffs that the Patriots offense wasn’t firing at the level seen in previous seasons. Through the 2019 regular season, New England averaged 354 total yards of offense per game (No. 15 in the NFL), a mark which was down from 393.4 yards in 2018 (No. 5 overall) and 394.2 yards in 2017 (No. 1). New England was promptly eliminated in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs — the first time that’s happened since the 2009 season.

If the Patriots are able to bring in Green and Henry, they may be the weapons that Brady needs to make this offensive unit click in 2020.

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