NASHVILLE — According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, running back Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans are not expected to come to a long-term agreement this year. The deadline to extend Henry under the current stipulations of his franchise tag is Wednesday, July 15.
Money talks and, for Henry, timing is everything.
Becoming the NFL’s leading rusher in 2019 and carrying Tennessee to an AFC Title Game appearance might be enough to cash in in any other time. 2020, however, is the year of Murphy’s Law. A global pandemic that could disrupt the upcoming season has left most finances in-flux and, with it, the players seeking multi-year extensions. After news broke last Tuesday that the NFL proposed holding 35% of player salaries in escrow to maintain league finances, deals were inherently going to become more difficult to close.
Henry is one of 15 tagged players seeking those securities this year. Any long-term contracts done before Wednesday will be the exception and not the rule.
— GMFB (@gmfb) May 21, 2020
General Manager Jon Robinson stated several times this offseason that Tennessee sought to retain Henry’s future services on several occasions. While that might have been in earnest, keeping Prime Henry on a one-year salary of $10.27M this coming season was always the smarter play. COVID-19’s affect on the NFL may yet disrupt a football season but also serves as a great excuse to keep spending low for teams looking for cap flexibility.
With Henry well under Christian McCaffrey’s average annual salary of $16.01M for the next four seasons, a second tagging of the Tennessee star in 2021 at around $12.5M makes far more sense.
That’s without even taking the pandemic into account.
The Titans lead running back differs from most of his colleagues in that he serves as the engine to the entirety of Arthur Smith’s offense. If all things were equal, his efforts might warrant a commensurate reward.
Henry is learning, like most of us in 2020, that best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
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