Hunter Henry, you may remember, expressed two of the biggest aspects he would be seeking out prior to making his free agency decision.
At the time, roughly a month before the NFL’s legal tampering period even started, the 26-year-old tight end admitted how he “would be lying” if he said he wasn’t going to look at the finances. However, just as important for Henry at that time was playing with a “good quarterback” as “it makes things a lot easier,” especially for players at his position.
Henry has since signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract with the New England Patriots, who double-dipped at tight end by also signing Jonnu Smith. The two were regarded as the top two players at the position, and they’ll now have the opportunity to play with a New England quarterback room featuring Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham.
Henry was asked how enticing those two signal-callers were in his decision.
“I’m excited for the guys that we got,” Henry told reporters Monday during his introductory press conference. “It’s going to be a blast to build that connection, to build that camaraderie, to just get out there and work and put the work in. I think that’s a big thing. I trust all the coaches. I trust what we?re building here with the Patriots. A big (part of) my decision, of why I wanted to be a Patriot was just the trust of Coach (Bill) Belichick and what we’re building there, and I’m just fired up to be a part of it.”
But what about Newton, specifically? Is Henry, who again said a “good quarterback” was crucial, excited to play with him?
“I am. I am. Very excited,” Henry said regarding Newton, who had a down year in 2020 but re-signed on an incentive-laden, one-year contract.
It seems Henry is not alone either.
Receiver Kendrick Bourne, who the Patriots signed to a three-year, $15 million contract last week, expressed that while he wasn’t as concerned with the quarterback he was playing with, he believes Newton will put together a resurgence during the 2021 campaign.
“I think he’s going to ball out,” Bourne told reporters Monday. “With the weapons they brought in, the help now — (2020) was just one of those rebuilding years that they went through, and he was a part of it.”