It looks like the Tennessee Titans are looking to make a different deal with Derrick Henry.
Heading into the offseason, the biggest no brainer for me was the Tennessee Titans using the franchise tag on Derrick Henry.
I mean think about it, running back is one of those positions in the NFL that doesn’t age gracefully, instead it falls off of a cliff. On top of that, every team that has given a running back money has regretted it almost immediately.
Henry is special to the franchise, but I thought that the coaching staff and front office would leave their heart out of it and make the most logical financial decision for better or worse.
I was wrong.
Based off of everything from combine interviews from Jon Robinson, to podcast interviews with Mike Vrabel, all the way to Jim Wyatt’s mailbag, the answers scream that the Titans are going to make their best effort to sign Henry.
Sure, that might still mean a franchise tag is coming but the way they talk about Henry compared to Ryan Tannehill and Jack Conklin is strange. Both are (without a doubt) the two most valuable free agents that the Titans have if you are projecting out the deals they would have on the market and/or their trade value.
However, the emphasis is constantly being put on the idea of retaining the reigning rushing champion.
On one hand, that is great because it means the Titans can now use the tag on either Tannehill of Conklin and get a bargain. However, that doesn’t even seem to be the point and that is where I am concerned.
How much do they want Henry back to give this team a marketable identity versus how much do they value Derrick Henry and the running back position in general.
Historically the Titans haven’t valued running back a lot since they got DeMarco Murray in a 4th round swap, spent their third second round pick on Derrick Henry (passing on him three times) and giving Dion Lewis an extremely cutable contract.
On top of that, it isn’t like they have done a lot of work trying to get running backs in the draft. Instead they have usually opted for a UDFA or getting a guy off the street.
It feels like a move that has to be done with care, and the Titans have to give themselves an out down the road if/when the big contract for a running back looks bad in hindsight (like they always do).
For now though, I am trying to be optimistic that the Titans are doing the smart thing so that they can give the tag to Conklin and re-sign Tannehill to a four year deal. But man…I am starting to get nervous.