Hunter Henry: One year, $12.7 million (Franchise tagged by the LA Chargers)
I know, most fans want to see the LA Chargers work out an extension for Hunter Henry and if the team did sign Henry to an extension it would likely be for four years in the $40-45 million range. And while I also want that to happen, that is not what I think will happen.
The Chargers have some financial flexibility after the 2021 season that I think they will look to keep intact. The team’s contending window with Justin Herbert is in the next few seasons while he is on his rookie contract and allowing yourself to stay flexible is a great way to pivot if needed.
This also allows the team to evaluate Henry and his ability to stay healthy for one more season. I think he has proven that the injury-prone narrative is a bit flukey, but I understand the hesitation to pay a tight end wide receiver money with his injury past.
The second year of a franchise tag warrants a 120% pay increase and the $12.7 million is not that much higher than they would be paying annually if they were to sign an extension with Henry anyways.
Sure, the team runs the risk of upsetting Henry and killing any future extension talks, but I do think it is more valuable for a franchise to have that flexibility. Would the Browns go back and not sign Austin Hooper to that big contract? Probably.
With other teams having a ton of cap space and needing weapons (Jacksonville, Indianapolis) don’t be surprised if the Chargers skip the bidding war altogether and simply slap the franchise tag on Henry for the second consecutive season.
All referenced contract figures via Spotrac.