New England Patriots

Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry (86) against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY)

Tight end Hunter Henry is on track to become an unrestricted free agent, and he has one simple request: he is only interested in teams that have a good quarterback situation.

Henry’s definition of “good” is a mystery, and call the Patriots’ quarterback room whatever you want. Just not “good.” So if Bill Belichick, who is well-documented as a big fan of Henry’s, really wants him? Even before paying Henry at or near the top of the market, he may need to find his signal-caller first.

“I want to play somewhere where there’s a good quarterback,” Henry said recently. “That’s huge for [the tight end] position. Makes things a lot easier on that burden of things. Playing with a good quarterback always makes things better.”

Henry acknowledged that his focus in free agency is on “a mix of both” the best situation and the most money. But he doesn’t want to start “chasing” the best contract and lose focus on who’s throwing him the ball.

Hunter Henry made it clear to any team who wants to sign him as a free agent: you better have a good quarterback. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Hunter Henry made it clear to any team who wants to sign him as a free agent: you better have a good quarterback. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Right now, the Patriots have to be an impossible sell for Henry. Their quarterback situation is as murky as any team in the league’s. Belichick’s best move may be to make a decisive move at QB before anything else, because otherwise he’ll make it that much more challenging for himself to attract high-end talent.

Henry likely has to sacrifice some money to fit the budget of most teams with their quarterback situations settled. The Chiefs, Bucs, Packers, Seahawks, and Bills would have to make sacrifices on their current rosters to fit him in the first place.

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At a glance, the best balance of financial flexibility and quarterback situations are the Jaguars (assuming they draft Trevor Lawrence), Colts (depending on how he feels about Carson Wentz), and his current team, the Chargers (assuming he believes in Justin Herbert).

The unclear definition of “good quarterback” makes you wonder how high Henry’s standards are with most of his suitors. But unfortunately, the definition is clear for the Patriots. They need a serious upgrade at quarterback if they want to convince Henry to sign.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at