Falcons: Could Matt Ryan and Arthur Smith attract Hunter Henry in free agency?

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The Falcons already have Hayden Hurst under contract in the last year of his rookie deal, which is incredibly affordable for someone of his caliber. But Terry Fontenot has made it apparent they will add to positions of strength regardless of who’s on the roster. The other piece of information that makes acquiring someone like Hunter Henry relevant is Arthur Smith’s offense using multiple tight end sets. 38% of the Titans’ play calls came out of a formation with at least two tight ends — 33% with two, 5% with three. Having another receiving threat at tight end would make Smith’s offense that much more effective.

I only bring this up because Henry recently appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio and said that who is throwing him the ball is more important than money.

“I want to play somewhere there’s a good quarterback,” Henry said. “That’s huge for our position. It makes things a lot easier … Playing with a good quarterback always makes things better. You gotta look at both. You gotta look at some of the financial stuff, but not dive too deep into it that you go chasing it because I also want to play with a good quarterback.”

Henry might not be the explosive player he once was, but he is a productive and capable tight end with plenty of tools to be an excellent receiver in any offense, especially Smith’s. Henry has the savviness and IQ to find holes in the defense, route-running skills to separate from defenders, but also possesses that sheer size to box defenders out underneath. However, is Matt Ryan enough to convince Henry to take less? Ryan might not be Tom Brady, who every free agent seems to be willing to take a pay cut to play with, but he could be Henry’s best option.

Green Bay won’t ever spend big money in free agency like Henry is going to command. Kansas City already has Travis Kelce. I could potentially see a scenario where Henry takes less to go play in Buffalo, but there’s no shot he’d go to Houston and join that dumpster fire, especially since I’m sure Deshaun Watson is on his way out. John Schnieder might court Henry to Seattle, but their offensive issues make that an undesirable destination even if Russell Wilson stays put. The Titans and Ravens usually draft well at tight end, so I doubt their worry is at that position in free agency. However, I would never be surprised if Brady somehow lured Henry down south.

The only quarterback that is better than Matt Ryan with a need for someone like Henry is Josh Allen and the Bills. I doubt they’re worried about their offense in Buffalo, but just as Atlanta is adding to an already established position, Buffalo might want to bolster their explosive offense even more.

Henry might be looking for too much in free agency for Terry Fontenot to even consider, but if the price is right; Henry, Hurst, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley would be a nightmare for defenses.

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