Cowboys Predicted to Sign New Starting TE in Free Agency

Chargers TE Hunter Henry

Getty Chargers TE Hunter Henry

For some reason, the Cowboys continue being connected to presumably available tight ends.

On the same day they were mentioned as a “likely destination” for Eagles stud Zach Ertz, Dallas was named among “five potential free agency landing spots” for Chargers starter Hunter Henry.

Via NFLAnalysis.net:

One of the biggest needs the Dallas Cowboys have outside of their current quarterback situation is a tight end. The Cowboys currently have Dalton Schultz and Blake Bell at the tight end position and that simply isn’t going to cut it.

Schultz, 24, is a solid tight end to add with a veteran, but having him as the number one guy is no bueno. Schultz hauled in 63 passes for 615 receiving yards and four touchdowns this season, but combining him with Hunter Henry would be a lethal tight end duo. Henry and Schultz have a similar play style, which is why the Cowboys could pursue Henry this offseason.

If the Cowboys brought in Henry to be their starting tight end, it would make their offense a lot more dynamic. Yes, they have a solid player in Schultz, but he doesn’t bring the same level of talent that Henry does. Schultz would be able to learn a lot from Henry, which is what could make them a killer duo in the lone star state.

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Henry’s NFL Resume

A 2016 second-round draft pick of then-San Diego, Henry was considered a rising star amid a rookie campaign that saw him convert 36 receptions into eight touchdowns — the second-most single-season scores by a first-year TE over the past decade.

Then the unforgiving injury bug derailed his promising career. Henry finished 2017 on injured reserve after suffering a lacerated kidney and knee ailment. In 2018, he sustained a torn ACL during May workouts that cost him the entire regular season. In 2019, a tibia plateau (knee) fracture limited him to 12 appearances.

In 2020, playing on the franchise tag, Henry made 14 starts and caught 60 passes for 613 yards and four TDs ahead of an expected foray into unrestricted free agency, which begins in March.

Altogether, the 26-year-old has totaled 196 receptions for 2,322 yards and 21 TDs across 55 games. He’s averaged 11.8 yards per reception but logged just one 100-yard effort.

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Improbable Target

Never mind his injury-marred past or the multi-million-dollar contract he should command as a free agent. For the same reason Ertz-to-Dallas won’t materialize, the Cowboys are equally unlikely to corral Henry on the open market.

Why? Because they already committed to their TE of the future in Blake Jarwin, who inked a four-year, $24 million extension last offseason prior to tearing his ACL. Jarwin is expected to be fully healthy well before training camp in late July.

And even if Jarwin is dealt a setback, the Cowboys — led by offensive-minded head coach Mike McCarthy — are comfortable with Dalton Schultz as the band-aid starter.

In a high-octane offense that boasts Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Ezekiel Elliott, tight end places relatively low on the totem pole. As such, it makes little sense to devote significant financial resources to the position.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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