Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry will be a free agent after this season.

There has been much speculation about what kind of deal, if any, the Titans should give him. After Sunday’s 42-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, I believe the team has to give him an extension.

Henry dominated the Jaguars, again, in week 12. He ran the ball 19 times for 159 yards and two scores. Both scores came just 16 seconds apart — the first time since 2006 that two touchdowns were scored in under 20 seconds by one player.

I think the Titans should sign Henry to a three-year deal when the season concludes. He is only 26 years old so this deal will allow the team to re-evaluate Henry before he turns 30, the age when running backs tend to decline in production.

His career usage could also add some years to his career. Derrick Henry has only carried the football 707 times in his career. Ezekiel Elliot, who was selected one round ahead of Henry in the 2016 draft, already has 1,083 carries under his belt. That is 376 — essentially a season’s worth of carries — fewer than Zeke. I’m not saying that Henry will play longer than Elliot, but those numbers are on Henry’s side.

Henry can also help a backfield that is facing a big question regarding it’s future. Tennessee does not know who their long-term quarterback will be, so locking up a stud running back like Henry should be a top priority. A strong running game will be a great asset to whoever the quarterback ends up being for the Titans.

A running back like Henry forces defenses to respect the running game by stacking the box, which allows the receivers to get separation from defenders. Simply put, a work horse back like Henry is a quarterback’s best friend.

It doesn’t hurt that the 6-foot-3, 247 pound running back is on pace for a career year. He is only nine carries short of his season total from 2018. He is also only 68 yards and two touchdowns away from last year’s total of 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns. And we’re only in week 12.

Barring injury, Henry will have his best season in a contract year. If you’re running a team, that is exactly what you want out of a potential franchise player. How can you not re-sign him after that?

Derrick Henry is a tank with the speed of a sports car. The Tennessee Titans cannot afford to let this man slip through their fingers.

Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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