The Tennessee Titans will pay Derrick Henry soon, and they are taking a major gamble.
The Tennessee Titans had a very simple, effective gameplan during their 2019 run. Hand the ball off to their 247-pound sledgehammer.
Now, the sledgehammer is getting paid.
After giving quarterback Ryan Tannehill a new $118 million deal this offseason, Tennessee appears close to locking up their running back as well.
Derrick Henry’s deal could be a massive success, but it is very risky.
No running back had more carries (303), rushing yards (1,540), or rushing touchdowns (16) than Henry did in 2019, his second straight 1,000-yard season.
In the 2019 playoffs, Tennessee leaned almost exclusively on Henry to carry the offense, as the former Heisman winner ran for 182 yards in an upset win over the New England Patriots before totaling just shy of 200 yards on 30 carries in a victory over Lamar Jackson’s 14-2 Baltimore Ravens.
Henry’s status as an elite running back is not up for debate. What is up for debate is the validity of a massive contract for a running back that has a lot of wear on his tires going back to his days at Alabama. Additionally, he’s not a great receiving threat in a pass-happy league.
There are a lot of variables working against Henry, given his mileage and the fact he’s only been a truly elite back for one season.
However, Henry proved during the playoffs last year that when he’s locked in, he’s as tough to stop as any back in the league.
Mike Vrabel and the Titans are really rolling the dice with this deal, especially considering the money they already gave to Tannehill, but Henry has the potential to make Tennessee a contender for the next half-decade.