- Titans sign RB Derrick Henry to four-year deal worth $50 million
- Henry led the NFL with over 1,500 rushing yards last season
- Titans listed at +3000 to win Super Bowl 55
Wednesday was the official deadline for NFL teams to agree to contract extensions with players that had been slapped with the franchise tag ahead of the 2020 season. While the Dallas Cowboys ultimately failed to agree to a new deal with QB Dak Prescott, a few other players did wind up signing on the dotted line before the clock struck midnight.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Tennessee Titans have signed All-Pro running back Derrick Henry to a four-year deal worth $50 million Wednesday evening. Henry signed his franchise tender around a month after the Titans used it on him. That deal would have paid the Alabama product $10.3 million for next season, but his new contract is one of the richest ever given to an NFL running back.
The Titans officially announced the news shortly thereafter:
Titans agree to terms on multi-year contract with Derrick Henry (@KingHenry_2)
The King is Back ? » https://t.co/tWCQfXfWaL pic.twitter.com/7yP4iqARp4
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) July 15, 2020
Henry Happy In Nashville
Henry told the team website, “I want to stay with the Tennessee Titans. They are the ones that took a chance on me – 31 teams passed on me in the draft and they selected me. I have a lot of love for Tennessee. I have a lot of love for everyone in that organization.”
The former Heisman Trophy winner was a major catalyst in the Titans’ unexpected run to the AFC Championship Game last season. Henry led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards on 303 attempts along with a career-high 16 touchdowns. He has put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons since taking over as the Titans’ full-time starter, and he was a dominant force in Tennessee’s upset playoff wins over the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.
Henry rumbled for 182 yards and a touchdown in the Titans’ 20-13 win over the Patriots in Foxborough, a game that ended the Tom Brady era in New England. A week later, he carried the ball another 30 times for 195 yards in Tennessee’s unexpected demolition of the top-seeded Ravens. However, the Chiefs limited Henry to 69 yards on 19 carries in the AFC title game, which wound up ending the Titans’ season.
Henry accounted for nearly 70 percent of the Titans’ offensive production through those first two playoff games. With those prolific performances, he became the first player in NFL history to accrue at least 180 rushing yards in three straight games.
Henry Becomes Fifth-Highest-Paid RB
Henry’s contract will pay him $12.5 million a season, which will make him the fifth-highest-paid running back in the league. He’ll trail Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey ($16 million), Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million), New York’s Le’Veon Bell ($13.1 million), and Houston’s David Johnson ($13 million) in that regard.
When asked about Henry in March, Titans general manager Jon Robinson said, “I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Derrick is an important part of what we do. Derrick is an important part of our football team. Derrick had a great year for us. He led the league in rushing and built off of the second half of his 2018 season. He cares about his teammates and works hard, and he’s great in the community.”
News of Wednesday’s deal was a bit of a surprise considering an extension was reportedly unexpected.
Henry will be looking to buck a recent trend. Several running backs have signed big-money extensions in recent years, only to wind up getting cut early on. The Falcons released Devonta Freeman before he was even halfway through his contract extension earlier this offseason. The same can be said of Todd Gurley, who was released by the Rams after playing two years into his four-year extension. Ironically, Gurley wound up replacing Freeman with the Falcons. Freman is still unsigned.
Titans Still Super Bowl 55 Long Shots
Earlier this offseason, the Titans agreed to a massive four-year deal worth $118 million with $62 million in guarantees. Tannehill replaced starter Marcus Mariota midway through last season and wound up leading the Titans to the playoffs. Tennessee’s offense clicked into gear once Tannehill was promoted to QB1, so bringing both he and Henry back on long-term deals makes plenty of sense.
Oddsmakers have big expectations for the Titans in 2020, as well. Tennessee is listed at +180 to win the AFC South, which puts them behind only the new-look Indianapolis Colts in the division. The Titans are also at -150 to make the playoffs, so NFL betting sites are optimistic about the team’s chances of nabbing an AFC Wild Card spot if they don’t win the division.
Tennessee is something of a long shot to win the AFC (+1400) and Super Bowl 55 (+3000), however.