While Belichick has looked to save money on wide receivers lately, he was willing to spend a pretty ridiculous amount on tight ends, and that’s headlined by the three-year, $37.5 million deal he gave Hunter Henry while simultaneously giving Jonnu Smith four years and $50 million in 2021.
Now entering the final year of that deal, Henry’s $12.5 million per season isn’t quite as high in the league-wide tight end market, but it’s certainly not low.
Only nine tight ends make more per year than Henry, and five of those nine deals were signed in 2022 or 2023.
It’s clear that even a decent season for Henry will have him command a pretty hefty salary moving forward though. The position is so thin right now, and guys making more than Henry on new deals now include Dawson Knox and Evan Engram.
Getting a tight end for less than $12 million per at this point means having someone like Zach Ertz, C.J. Uzomah or Will Dissly. That makes it even more interesting that the Pats were able to get Mike Gesicki on just a $4.5-million contract for 2023.
But sticking with Henry, the 28-year-old probably hasn’t developed as much as Bill had hoped when he gave him this contract, but the market shifting has also made the deal kind of fine anyway.
That makes the decision on whether or not to extend him an interesting one. Belichick usually likes to go counter to leaguewide trends, and paying tight ends is certainly en vogue right now. If I were a betting man (and I am) I’d say that Bill is probably going to keep looking for more guys like Gesicki who offer interesting upside on cheaper deals until the tight end market cools off.