Derrick Henry is likely going to play for the Tennessee Titans in 2020.
The only question is whether or not he’ll sign an extension or if the Titans will place the franchise tag on the dynamic running back.
I’m typically not a big fan of offering running backs big extensions. It’s not that I think a team can plug in just anyone at running back. It just seems considerably easier to find a star at running back than it does at any other position on the field.
Henry, however, proved in 2019 that he’s one of the top running backs in the league. He led the league in rushing last season while finishing fourth in total yards.
But I’m still skeptical of giving Henry a longterm Ezekiel Elliott type deal.
One interesting solution could be tagging Henry and drafting a running back to take his place after the 2020 season.
Vanderbilt’s Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who has already visited with the Titans, could be a good pick for the Titans in the middle rounds of the draft (third or fifth round, since Tennessee doesn’t have a fourth round pick). Tagging Henry and getting a look at Vaughn to see if he has what it takes to carry an offense would make a lot of sense for Tennessee.
Henry’s value will probably never be higher than it is right now. Even if he leads the league in rushing again in 2020, he’ll be another year older. And a year for a running back is like three years for any other football player. Extending a 27 year old running back will be cheaper than extending a 26 year old running back (which, again, I’d be skeptical of doing, but it would still be an option on the table if Henry gets tagged this season.)
Or there’s always the chance that Henry reverts to the first half version of himself from last season. Remember, the bulk of Henry’s production came over the final six games of the season. I’m not saying I expect that to happen, but I think it would be foolish to suggest it couldn’t happen.
From strictly a business standpoint, tagging Henry, drafting a replacement and then seeing what happens in 2020 could be the best scenario for the Titans.
Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports