Patriots Urged to Cut $37.5 Million Pass Catcher

New England Patriots

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick

Even though tight end Hunter Henry was one of New England Patriots‘ top pass catchers in 2022, Bleacher Report urged the team cut him this offseason.

“He was third on the team in receptions and yards this season and has become a consistent target for Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe,” Alex Ballentine wrote in a story published February 1. “But his $15.5 million cap hit is the third-highest for a tight end next season. Only George Kittle and [Jonnu] Smith are set to make more money.”

Henry, who signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract in 2019, has performed well since coming to New England. In 34 games, he has tallied 91 receptions for 1,112 yards, and 11 touchdowns. The Patriots have an out in the contract after the 2022 season that would leave their dead cap at $5 million if they released him before June 1.

The New England Patriots Could Sign Hunter Henry to a Contract Extension

Ballentine wrote that New England has options to bring back Henry, including signing him to a contract extension that would restructure his deal and save the Patriots money in the short term.

“Letting go of the 28-year-old would be disappointing, but they would save $10 million against the cap,” Ballentine wrote. “It would likely be a better option to come to an agreement on an extension with the Arkansas product that would allow them to push some of the money into future years, giving them more seasons with Henry and essentially buying them time to get out of Smith’s contract. But if Henry isn’t interested in working with the team toward an extension, it would still make sense to consider moving on.”

The issue for the Patriots is that they have multiple big-name players set to enter free agency, including wide receiver Jakobi Meyers and running back Damian Harris.

Meyers discussed his impending free agent status when speaking with MassLive’s Mark Daniels in early January.

“When that time comes, I’ll cross that bridge,” Meyers said, according to Daniels. “Whether I’m here or I’m not here, I’ll tell all the guys that I appreciate them. Because the locker room changes regardless of whether I’m here or not. So tell everybody that I appreciate them and embrace these couple moments with the guys.”

Meyers was also asked if he wanted to return to the Patriots.

“Oh, yeah. Definitely, definitely,” Meyers said, according to Daniels. “I’ve put in a lot of time here. I’ve built a nice home here. So it’d be nice.”

New England Patriots Also Urged to Cut Kendrick Bourne

Henry isn’t the only pass catcher that New England should cut, according to Ballentine. He wrote that the Patriots should release Kendrick Bourne in part to help re-sign Meyers.

“The 27-year-old is set to make $6.9 million next season, but only $1.4 million of it is guaranteed,” Ballentine wrote. “Much like the tackle market, the receiver market is fairly barren. But the Patriots aren’t necessarily looking for a No. 1 receiver to replace Bourne, just someone they are more likely to play and involve in the offense. The draft is a much more likely source to bring them a No. 1 receiver. However, a third or fourth option should be available on the market for the money they could save by cutting Bourne.”

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x