Salary cap casualties are commonplace for the Patriots organization, as a slew of big names have been cut in the preseason over the course of the Bill Belichick era.
Pro Football Focus believes Hunter Henry could carry out the trend in New England in the coming months.
The three-year, $37.5 million deal the Patriots gave Henry two years ago looked like a sound investment in the 2021 season. The veteran tight end set a single-season career high for touchdowns (nine) and didn’t miss a single game, a first for the 2016 second-rounder. Henry also played a full slate this past season, but his productivity dipped dramatically.
Should Henry be released based on performance alone? Probably not. But as PFF pointed out in a column published Monday, the newfound money that would come with cutting Henry could appeal to New England’s front office.
“With Bill O’Brien returning as offensive coordinator, perhaps he wants two solid veteran tight ends to work with, enabling him to line up with various different personnel groupings and helping to get an anemic Matt Patricia-led offense back on track,” PFF wrote. “On the flip side, perhaps the team wants to put that $10.5 million in cash savings to work elsewhere to help improve the unit.”
The Patriots could address multiple needs with that cash, but New England might be inclined to keep Henry given the state of its pass-catching group. No. 1 wideout Jakobi Meyers might find a new home through free agency and a trade for an elite receiver reportedly is a longshot.