The Chargers started day two of the tampering window by finding out that their tight end Hunter Henry was signing with the New England Patriots, according to Adam Schefter. Henry is signing a three-year deal worth up to $37.5 million, and $25 million is guaranteed.
The Patriots have reportedly now signed two of the top tight ends in the 2021 free agency, Jonnu Smith being the other.
Where does that leave the Chargers?
Well, as of right now, they have only one tight end on the roster in Donald Parham. Tight end is an important position to an offense, so the Chargers need to start looking for a Henry’s replacement. It may take two tight ends to do that, especially because Henry was a solid route runner but also a great blocker.
They can go the free agency route, which features Gerald Everett of the Rams, Kyle Rudolph of the Vikings, and Jared Cook of the Saints.
Cook was in New Orleans with now Bolts offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. They are familiar with each other. Cook brings a big-bodied tight end, who uses his body to shield defenders. He also brings a red zone threat because Cook has scored 22 touchdowns the last three seasons. He scored a 41-yard touchdown last season against the Chargers, so they know what he brings to the table.
Rudolph seemed at times like he was misused in Minnesota. He is a good blocker and can get open. He would fit pretty well in a Chargers offense that features Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. His stats may not be there the last two seasons, but he could get open and be a red zone threat. General manager Tom Telesco stated that he wanted to get better in the red zone, so if signed, Rudolph could easily haul in six to eight touchdowns this season.
Everett is interesting because he has only been in the NFL for four seasons and has room to grow. He has grown in the Rams system, but they don’t feature the tight end as much. He has over 800 yards the last two seasons but rarely gets in the red zone. This scenario seems less likely because he posted on Instagram a goodbye to LA, so the Chargers may not be in the mix.
Trading could be an option, and it might be the best option.
There is a certain tight end who is 30-years old and grew up in Orange, California. He is a Super Bowl champion, can change the dynamic of the offense, and the Bolts have been rumored to be in talks. It is Philadelphia Eagles tight end, Zach Ertz.
Ertz is 30-years old, but he can still ball. He has scored 15 touchdowns the last three seasons and has over 2,400 yards. He could certainly help improve this offense because of the kind of pass-catching tight end Ertz is. He also has the most catches in a season by a tight end in NFL history with 116 in 2018.
The team could also look towards the draft. There is one prospect from the University of Florida that could be an intriguing option, tight end Kyle Pitts. He is a first-round talent and could be a top ten pick, but if he falls into the Chargers lap that would be beautiful. Pitts has been compared to former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson but in tight end form.
There is a lot of different scenarios the Bolts can do to make up for Henry’s production and can help quarterback Justin Herbert. It would be in the team’s best interest to add two tight ends.