Titans Can’t Throw Big Money at Derrick Henry

Anthony Miller
I am currently an NFL Contributor for Infinity Sports Network as well as NFL Draft Contributor for NFL Draft Lounge. I also write about the NFL, XFL, and arena football for multiple websites.

Derrick Henry can be special for the Tennessee Titans, but a long-term deal might not make sense until next year.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday the Titans are not expected to reach a long-term deal with Derrick Henry before Wednesday’s deadline.

Tennessee gave Henry the franchise tag in the offseason that will be worth $10.27 million this season. Should a long-term deal not be reached, Henry would play out the tag and become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

Henry has become the workhorse for the Titans in the last two seasons. He’s ran for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons including his 1,540 last year that led the NFL. Henry also led the league in carries (303) and rushing touchdowns (16). He was selected to his first Pro Bowl last year and was awarded the franchise tag in the offseason after wanting a long-term deal.

What Derrick Henry Means to the Titans

Dion Lewis is no longer in Tennessee which leaves Henry as the featured back in the offense. Tennessee likes to run the ball often and not afraid to feed Henry the ball. Every season since joining the NFL in 2016, his work production has increased every year. The Titans are expecting big things from Henry this season.

Ryan Tannehill had a magical season for Tennessee, but his success depends on Henry’s performance. While the receiving core is young and talented, Tennessee trusts Henry to move the ball down the field more often. It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see him get another 300 plus carry season.

The depth at the running back position is left to be desired. They have Dalyn Dawkins and rookie Darryton Evans who will battle for the backup job in training camp. The problem is neither guy has proven to have the productivity that Henry has displayed. Tennessee will give the ball to Henry 25-30 times a game until those guys step up.

Should Tennessee Give Him a Long-Term Deal?

It’s a tough decision for the Tians to make since Henry means so much to the offense. If Tennessee can run the ball well, the offense is better off. Tannehill doesn’t possess the skills to carry a whole offense on his back. He needs to have someone like Henry helping him out.

Tennessee also faces the issue of if they use Henry too much, will he get banged up easier? His workload has been increasing every year which could take a toll on running backs. If the team paid him, they would have to hope the 26-year-old would be able to hold up for at least four to five more years.

The options are limited for Tennessee at this time, but if they can’t come up with a solution by next offseason, they might have to pay Henry his due.

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