The Tennessee Titans hit a massive home run by re-signing star running back Derrick Henry to a four-year contract extension on Wednesday.

The NFL’s reigning rushing champ agreed to a new deal with the Titans that will pay him an annual average value of $12.5 million through the 2023 season, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

While Henry is likely relieved to not have to play the 2020 season on the much-maligned franchise tag, the extension also works in the Titans’ favor due to its short length, manageable salary and the message it sends to the rest of the locker room.

By giving Henry a four-year deal as opposed to a longer one, the Titans essentially get to keep him during his prime and not any longer.

Age 30 has long been considered the death knell for NFL running backs, and, should Henry play out the length of this new deal, he will be just 29 in its final year.

Henry could decline or lose a step earlier than age 30, but it’s unlikely that he will become useless by that point.

Even if he does, the Titans should be able to relatively easily move on from Henry after just two or three years.

His new deal has just $25.5 million guaranteed, and he likely will earn most of that during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

That’s the structure that most recent running back extensions have been patterned after, such as Ezekiel Elliot.

Not only does Henry’s increased salary not give the Titans much long term concern, but it also shouldn’t be much of a burden in the present.

$12.5 million is a very manageable figure, especially considering the Titans already had Henry on the books for just over $10 million on the franchise tag.

It’s a small price to pay for a rare, explosive playmaker like Henry.

Additionally, re-signing Henry helps the Titans to avoid any kind of locker room uneasiness.

Henry is beloved by his Titans teammates and grew into a leadership role last season, and NFL players also seem to unanimously despise the franchise tag. Leaving Henry to play on the tag in 2020 could have led to some tension.

Alas, however, the Titans made sure that wouldn’t even be a remote possibility. They rewarded their most important player, something you simply have to do in the NFL.

There are certainly some bones to be picked with the Titans’ offseason, as a whole, but with this particular move, they nailed it.

MORE: A Look at Derrick Henry’s Growth Over His NFL Career

Cover image: USA Today/Geoff Burke


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