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Why the Saints should sign TE Hunter Henry

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Hunter and Cook? Yes, please.

New Orleans Saints v San Diego Chargers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

There was a period last year when Jared Cook was out due to injury, that the New Orleans Saints backup quarterback Taysom Hill was the second tight end behind Josh Hill on the roster, with no other tight end available.

The aforementioned Cook is only under contract turning 33 years old later this season, and he’s only under contract for one more year in New Orleans. It’s time the Saints address the position with something that provides a bit more long-term potential.

Enter 25-year-old Hunter Henry. A tight end who can do things like this:

It’s not often a premier pass-catching tight end hits the open market at age 25, but such is the case with the oft-injured Henry, who NFLTradeRumors.co ranks as the 17th best free agent this year across all positions.

To say Henry is simply “oft-injured” might be a bit of an understatement, though. Henry has played in a combined 26 games the past three seasons combined, missing all of 2018 to torn ACL. Henry missed a portion of 2019 due to a tibia fracture, but the 2019 injury was on the opposite leg than his prior ACL tear.

This cause for concern and lengthy injury history presents opportunity for a bargain, though. Spotrac currently predicts Henry to sign this offseason at market value of “only” 4 years and $35.6 million, with an average salary of a little less than $9 million per year.

It’s completely possible the Los Angeles Chargers franchise tag Henry and pay him a one-year salary of approximately $11 million. But considering Henry was able to snag five touchdowns and go for over 650 yards in only 12 games last year, if there’s a chance to bring him to New Orleans, Mickey Loomis will need to at least kick the tires.