Hunter Henry Doesn't Anticipate Signing New Chargers Contract Before NFL Season

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on during the warm up before the game against the Oakland Raiders at RingCentral Coliseum on November 07, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry said Friday he doesn't expect to sign a long-term contract extension before the July 15 deadline.

Henry, who signed the one-year tender associated with the franchise tag in April, told Gilbert Manzano of the Southern California News Group he doesn't know of any ongoing discussions between the Chargers and his representatives.

"I don't think anything will get done, but we'll see," he said.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

In a difficult year for franchise tagged players with so much economic uncertainty, here is another that’s expected to play on the 1-year tag: #Chargers TE Hunter Henry. He’s already signed his tag, he’s in for 2020 and a big part of LAC’s present and future. But no extension.

Henry added he's not focused on the lack of contract talks and confirmed he's prepared to play the 2020 season under the franchise tag.

"I'm not worried about it," he told Manzano. "I'm just going to go out there. I get a chance to play this year and do my thing this year. I'm pretty locked in on what I got ahead of me in the 2020 season. That's what I'm locked in for, you know, I don't like to look too far ahead."

Henry is coming off a strong 2019 season. He recorded career-high totals in catches (55) and receiving yards (652) alongside five touchdowns in 12 appearances. He's tallied 17 scores in 41 games since the Chargers selected him in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft.

The 25-year-old Arkansas native has dealt with injuries throughout his career, including a torn ACL that caused him to miss the entire 2018 season. He missed four games last year with a separate knee injury.

He told Manzano he's still got "so much to prove" because of the prior setbacks.

"I think that's the biggest thing I'm focusing on. Just trying to stay healthy," Henry said. "I've just had some unfortunate injuries come my way. I feel the best I've felt in probably a couple years, for sure. I'm excited."

The Chargers have built one of the NFL's best pass-catching groups with Henry, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Running back Austin Ekeler is also a major factor in the passing game out of the backfield.

Who will be throwing them the ball is a key question heading into training camp. Tyrod Taylor, a former starter with the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, likely has the inside track over rookie Justin Herbert, whose learning curve has been delayed by the lack of on-field work amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Henry and the Bolts are scheduled to open the regular season Sept. 13 on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals.