Signing UDFA RB Alex Barnes
I have talked about this a lot, but until I see Derrick Henry get a new contract with the Tennessee Titans I am going to assume that this is his last year in Nashville.
7 months ago if you would have asked me about it, I would have told you there was a better chance that he was traded or replaced than starting in 2019. He just wasn’t effective and he wasn’t getting much more than what was blocked up for him.
That all changed in December when he has the best stretch of his (or nearly anyone’s) career.
Still, Derrick Henry’s history of starting slowly has to scare the Titans front office and coaching staff. If he has another slow period this year, is Tennessee going to offer him a big contract to get him to stay? Probably not.
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Dion Lewis is still under contract, but I believe all of or nearly all of his guaranteed money is gone after this season. That means that the Titans could consider getting a comp pick back for Henry and letting Lewis go simply because his contract is so big relative to his production.
There is going to be a number crunch next year to get all of the Titans free agents under contract and some people are going to have to leave. Alex Barnes was one of, if not the best running backs left on the board on Day 3 of the draft.
To get him as an UDFA gives you a great look at a player who could end up being a starter for you down the road. At the very least you get to look at a productive, athletic RB who can be a special teams player or a backup early in his career.
If you can keep Barnes and get comparable production to what you are getting now, it is a move that could save you something like $8 million next year. That bump could be enough to keep a guy like Logan Ryan on the roster, which is a huge difference even though it takes some foresight to really see.