Should the Tennessee Titans extend Derrick Henry

Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Tennessean)
Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Tennessean) /

Nearly everyone on the Tennessee Titans payroll is enjoying the last few days of rest before they have to lock in and prepare for training camp.

The rookies are going to be focusing on learning their playbook so that they aren’t called out by Mike Vrabel in meetings. Between learning the plays and making sure that they have a place to stay during training camp, they are going to have a lot on their plates.

It isn’t going to be a picnic for the veterans either because nearly everyone associated with the offense is going to have to learn new faces or make sure that they are keeping up with their rehab after 2021’s historically injured Tennessee Titans team.

On defense, the linebackers are working with two new starters (compared to the beginning of last season) and there is going to be a great competition at cornerback between Caleb Farley, Elijah Molden, and Roger McCreary to figure out which of them is the odd man out this season.

The one player who doesn’t have much to worry about at all is Derrick Henry.

After spending the last 9 months or so recovering from an injury with nothing to do other than rehab and learn the playbook, the only thing left for Henry to do is get back on the field.

There is no doubt that Henry is going to be the focal point of the Tennessee Titans’ offense again this year. Running backs are always going to be a focal point when Mike Vrabel is running a team, and when you have a potential Hall of Fame running back on the roster it makes sense to use him.

However, right now the Tennessee Titans have to be thinking about what their plans are with Henry beyond this season.

How they answer that is going to be crucial for the next question.

Should the Tennessee Titans give Derrick Henry a new deal?

Brent Sobleski wrote an article where he noted that the Tennessee Titans should work on a new deal for Derrick Henry before the season.

The thought process is that the team should be working on a deal that lowers Henry’s cap hit while also giving the running back more security. Over the next two years, Henry has cap hits of $15 million and $15.5 million, but he only has $6 million guaranteed over those next two years.

In all honesty, Derrick Henry’s peak is probably going to be this year if he hasn’t already hit that mark. That isn’t a bad thing though and a reduced role isn’t a death sentence for his career or his value.

If Henry is a star this year and if he has three solid years left in him after that, then you could make the argument that giving Henry a new deal is a great investment.

Looking at Eddie George as his historical comparison, there are two ways you can look at it. Eddie George was the Tennessee Titans’ starter for eight seasons and Derrick Henry is heading into his fifth season as the starter. Four more years of Henry makes perfect sense from that angle.

However, he was also only the Titans’ starter until he turned 30 and Derrick Henry is 28 years old. Four years would be a little too long in this scenario.

A new deal could enable them to make sure that they have enough cap space to re-sign some of their impending free agents before the season starts, but the Tennessee Titans won’t do a deal just for the sake of money. If they do a deal it will be because they think that Henry can be a factor in this offense until 2025.

I’m torn because I can see the value on both sides. However, cap space is always manipulatable and the cap is only going to get bigger and bigger over the next few seasons. If that is the case then a dollar today is not the same as a dollar down the road and adding more money now has a lot of benefits.

With that in mind, I like the idea of tacking a few years on to the end of his deal and making him a lifelong Titan even if his role has to change and you might be paying a little too much for an RB in a committee backfield that isn’t going to be on the field on third downs.