Hunter Henry hopes to help rebuild the Patriots’ culture with new contract in hand - Sport News

Hunter Henry hopes to help rebuild the Patriots’ culture with new contract in hand

Hunter Henry’s 2023 campaign was one of mixed emotions. On the one hand, the veteran tight end was named a first-time team captain and rebounded nicely after a disappointing season one year prior. On the other hand, the New England Patriots went just 4-13 and he had to end the year prematurely due to a knee injury.

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Despite the disappointment, Henry did not want to go anywhere as an unrestricted free agent. As a result, the 29-year-old signed a three-year, $27 million contract extension before making it to the open market.

His goal for 2024 and beyond is clear: help get the Patriots back on track.

“Obviously, last year wasn’t what we wanted to be at all,” Henry told patriots.com’s Alexandra Francisco. “Change needed to happen and I’m excited to be part of that change, hopefully for the better, and to lead those guys, hang out with them, build more camaraderie, and build a culture here that we can carry for years on end.”

As a look at his new contract shows, Henry will at least be a part of that process in 2024 and 2025.

TE Hunter Henry: Contract details

2024:
Base salary: $1.365 million*
Signing bonus: $2.5 million*
Roster bonus: $1 million
Workout bonus: $350,000
Incentives (NLTBE): $1 million
Salary cap hit: $5.32 million

2025:
Base salary: $6.65 million*
Signing bonus: $2.5 million*
Roster bonus: $1 million
Workout bonus: $350,000
Incentives (NLTBE): $1 million
Salary cap hit: $10.5 million

2026:
Base salary: $7.15 million
Signing bonus: $2.5 million*
Roster bonus: $1 million
Workout bonus: $350,000
Incentives (NLTBE): $1 million
Salary cap hit: $11 million

*fully guaranteed

The Patriots guaranteed a significant portion of Henry’s deal, especially over the first two seasons. His base salaries of $1.65 million and $6.65 million are fully guaranteed both years, as is his $2.5 million signing bonus proration. In total, $15.8 million of the pact’s base value — 58.5 percent — are bound to be collected by the veteran tight end regardless of circumstance.

That structure makes it clear that the Patriots envision Henry to be a part of their offensive operation for at least two more years, if not the entirety of this new deal. And unless his performance drops off as he enters his 30s, it would make sense to keep him around.

Not only does the team currently have no other truly established tight ends signed — Austin Hooper and La’Michael Pettway are the only other players rostered at the position — Henry himself is also playing at a manageable deal: his cap number of $5.32 million in 2024, for example, is currently ranked 21st among all tight ends in the league. He will have the 14th and ninth-biggest cap impact at the position the next two years.

Although he is no longer paid like one of the truly elite tight ends in football, which he is not, the Patriots believe Henry can still have value. Looking at the chemistry he developed with both Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe over the last three years, it is not hard to see why they might feel that way.

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