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Report: Chargers TE Hunter Henry expected to play out 2020 season on franchise tag

Los Angeles Chargers TE Hunter Henry during NFL game
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

As the deadline for NFL teams to sign franchise-tagged players to a contract extension looms, Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry is expected to play out the 2020 season on the tag.

Los Angeles Chargers, Hunter Henry not expected to sign contract extension

The Chargers started off their offseason by placing the franchise tag on Hunter Henry, ensuring that one of the team’s top weapons would return in 2020. Unfortunately, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he won’t be signing a contract extension this offseason.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Henry is expected to play out this season on the franchise tag. The one-year deal will pay him $10.6 million, making him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL this season.

A second-round pick in 2016, Henry has emerged as an outstanding weapon when healthy. The 25-year-old has played in 41 games, missing the 2018 season with a torn ACL, and become one of the league’s best pass-catching threats at the position.

Hunter Henry’s stats prove he deserves a record-breaking contract

Henry likely would have signed a record-breaking contract this offseason if not for the franchise tag. Instead, Austin Hooper became a free agent and signed a four-year contract worth $44 million.

When on the field, Henry is a matchup nightmare that defenses routinely struggle to contain. This past season, despite dealing with poor quarterback play, he finished with a career-high 652 receiving yards, while hauling in 55 receptions and five touchdowns.

According to Pro Football Focus, Henry has a 90.5 receiving grade against single coverage during his NFL career. It’s the eighth-best mark in the NFL over that span and the 6-foot-5 tight end is also a superior blocker to Hooper.

Henry is a key reason why the Chargers could surprise this year, especially on offense. If he can earn Pro Bowl honors and post another career-best season, he could land that record-breaking contract next offseason.