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Patriots Tight End Option Off The Board: Chargers Use Franchise Tag On Hunter Henry

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Patriots could really use a tight end or two this offseason. L.A.'s Hunter Henry was expected to be one of the best available when free agency arrives next week, but that will no longer be the case.

The Los Angeles Chargers have used their franchise tag on Henry, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Friday afternoon. That takes the tight end out of the mix for the Patriots and any other team looking to bulk up at the position.

Henry has battled injuries throughout the last two season, missing all of the 2018 season with a torn ACL and the first six weeks of the season last year, but he's had a knack for finding the end zone during his four-year NFL career. In 41 games, the 25-year-old has 17 touchdowns, highlighted by a career-high eight scores as a rookie in 2016. In his 12 games in 2019, Henry set career-highs with 55 receptions for 652 yards, scoring five touchdowns on the year.

He would have looked good in a Patriots uniform, but now New England will likely have to look elsewhere this offseason. They could still swing a trade for Henry, but that would likely cost New England a first- or second-round draft pick.

Atlanta's Austin Hooper and Indianapolis' Eric Ebron remain other tight end options for New England in free agency.

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