The addition of Hunter Henry on Tuesday capped off an incredible start as the Patriots continued rebuilding their 2021 roster.
New England managed to lock up the veteran tight end with a three-year, $37.5 million deal that now pairs the 26-year old up with fellow newly-signed tight end Jonnu Smith for the foreseeable future.
As several reporters have pointed out, it’s no secret that Bill Belichick thinks a lot of Henry having followed his career going all the way back to his days growing up in Arkansas.
He’s both a terrific player and an even better person. His rise with the Chargers obviously got noticed by what he did on the field, but it’s what he did in the locker room and with his teammates that has been one of the aspects about him that certainly makes him a good addition.
He’s well-liked, largely because he’s been one of the guys who goes out of his way to make both young and new players coming in feel like part of the club. One of the better stories centered around newcomer Justin Herbert, who was drafted in round one last year and Henry was the first player who reached out to him.
“It was Hunter Henry,” said Herbert immediately when asked who reached out to him first. “He texted me that night and just said he was looking forward to getting to work together. He was one of those guys that I’ve been able to lift weights with and kind of talk to, so he’s been really nice so far.”
Henry admitted that when he was coming in, gestures like that meant a lot to him and he likes being one of the players who can fill that role.
“I think obviously as a tight end, we’re always trying to be the quarterback’s best friend,” said Henry. “That’s always…and him being young, I remember being young and when older guys reached out to me, it felt a little bit extra special, you kind of felt a part of the squad. Every year there’s young guys coming in. So just continuing to build relationships, I think that’s huge and I think pays dividends down the line, especially when you’re on the field with trust and everything.”
Now the question is how this potentially impacts last year’s draft picks Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi, who are both suddenly guys down the depth chart who are probably wondering what their roles will be moving forward. The addition of Smith and Henry is likely concerning for both players, with the pair probably realizing that making a second-year leap will be a little tough given what is now suddenly a fairly crowded group.
Fortunately, it seems like Henry could be a guy who could potentially be a help for both players. That’s a role he seems to embrace and definitely the type of guy you want in the locker room.
He’s also a player focused on the little things, telling SI.com following a win last year that he knows how important it is to stay in the right mindset and play 60-minutes. He admitted that he’s always listened to the veterans and understands that the details are what matters, which explains why Belichick has always liked him.
Now he has him and it should be fun to watch him in this offense.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Hunter Henry New England Patriots