Hunter Henry now Chargers' No. 1 tight end

Chargers tell Antonio Gates he won’t be re-signed … story.html

That’s a little bit of a suprise. I guess it don’t make a lot of sense to pay both him and Henry. He has done a good job playing for them.

That’s what the NFL is now. Salary cap leads teams to play youngsters and cut loose higher-paid veterans, even if they’re still productive; quarterback is the exception. HH is benefitting from it now, but in five years he may be the one whacked to save money.

So, what should the strategy be? Let your agent bargain for as many dollars possible over the five year period? Bid them up and then act surprised when cut to make way for the cheaper newly drafted replacement? Do these rich guys really make this part of their plans and exit strategy because it really is about money and has little to do with love of the game and/or love of the team and it’s players. If it was really the latter then why do we not have teams and players actually working together more often to optimize the dollars to everyone’s benefit?

In the end we get less than optimal teams over the long haul run by management and played by players neither of which really care for each other in the end; only the dollars matter. As soon as a player’s salary crosses a certain percentage of the salary cap limit then they are on the target list for replacement. Make hay while the sun shines…

Rookie contracts lock a player down for four years; first round picks have a team option for the fifth year. Henry, as a second round pick, doesn’t really have the chance to get megabucks until that fifth year (remember that the average NFL career is like 3+ years so most guys are gone before they get that chance). Second round guys get two years of guaranteed money; HH just finished year 2 so the guaranteed cash is gone.

In year 5, darn right he’ll shoot for the moon. The Chargers might choose to franchise tag him to get an extra year or so of control, but the tag means a big raise itself, to the upper echelon of tight end salaries in this case. Or they may wave buh-bye and get somebody cheaper. Of course, they could also give him a long term deal in year 5, also with a big raise.

As far as the teams go, they seem to have two relevant goals: To make the best use of their limited resource (salary cap dollars) while saving enough of those to pay for the guy who can really cash in – the quarterback. Right now San Francisco, with its new deal for Jimmy Garoppolo, is spending nearly 20% of its cap money on QBs. Dallas, with Dak still on his rookie deal, is spending the least, only 1% on Jerry’s cap. That’s also why you’ll probably see a lot of those first-round QBs playing early. If you’re gonna lose anyway, lose with a cheap young QB and spend the savings on other talent. Seattle’s dominant run came with Russell Wilson on his rookie deal which allowed them to spend big on the Legion of Boom.