The New England Patriots popularized the two-tight end set back when Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were among the best at the position in the NFL. Bill Belichick has been extremely aggressive in free agency this year, especially at the tight end spot, adding Hunter Henry today after landing Jonnu Smithon Monday.
Henry and Smith were widely considered the two top tight ends in free agency this offseason. After signing Smith to a four-year, $50 million deal, Henry is getting three years for $37.5 million.
Henry has been very productive throughout his NFL career. Last season, he recorded a career high 60 receptions for 613 yards and four touchdowns. Smith had 41 receptions for 448 yards and eight touchdowns, serving as one of the Tennessee Titans' top red zone threats.
They're not the only weapons brought in to replenish a depleted offense, either. The team has also inked former wide receiver Nelson Agholor, coming off of a very strong season for the Las Vegas Raiders, and former San Francisco 49ers’ receiver Kendrick Bourne.
The team started off the free agency period by bringing backCam Newton on another incentive-laden deal, which was somewhat surprising after his struggles in 2020. He needs to be much better for the Patriots to compete in an improving AFC East, but he was also surrounded by one of the worst sets of skill position players in the NFL. The team upgraded on the other side of the ball as well, adding Davon Godchaux, Jalen Mills, and Matt Judon. Where other teams have to be conservative this offseason, the New England Patriots are major buyers, and in 2021 look to officially begin the post-Tom Brady era. It should be a fascinating one, especially when it comes to the quarterback position. Newton's deal certainly doesn't lock him in as the starter, and the Pats have been connected to a few of the potential first-round rookie quarterbacks.
And New England strikes again: The Patriots are signing former Chargers' TE Hunter Henry to a three-year, $37.5 million deal, including $25 million guaranteed, per source.
Free agency's top two tight ends, Henry and Jonnu Smith, wind up in New England.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2021