Tennessee Titans: Pros and cons of signing Derrick Henry to long-term contract

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Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing yards and was a big reason why the Tennessee Titans had a deep postseason run. He’s also due for a big payday.

Derrick Henry broke out in a big way during the 2019 season. The former second-round pick of the 2016 NFL Draft spent the bulk of his first two seasons with the Tennessee Titans in a backup role behind DeMarco Murray.

After the 2017 season, Murray announced his retirement, and, suddenly, it was Henry’s time to shine. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career on 215 carries and crossed the goal line 12 times during the 2018 season, all the while sharing carries with the newly-acquired Dion Lewis.

However, last year Henry had the majority of the carries and led the NFL in rushing yards in 15 games.

He was limited by a hamstring injury that caused him to sit out of the contest against the New Orleans Saints. Looking back, it was likely the best decision that the team could have made, given that that particular game mattered very little with the Titans controlling their destiny for the playoffs.

Henry was a machine in the first two playoff games, racking up 182 and 195 rushing yards in the wins over the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens, respectively.

A bulk of his rushing yards came after contact, which is a true testament to how big Henry is. At 6-foot-3, 247 pounds, he has the physical stature of Eddie George but nearly the open field speed of Chris Johnson.

Henry was limited to just 69 rushing yards in the AFC Championship Game, but the Titans were also forced to play catch-up and had to abandon the run.

He is one of four key free agents this offseason that the front office would like to bring back. We’ve already touched on the potential positives and negatives of giving Ryan Tannehill a long-term deal, so let’s do the same for the Titans’ star running back.

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