In a shocking turn of events, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry will not play out the 2020 season on the franchise tag. Just yesterday, it was reported that the two sides were having trouble on agreeing to terms on an extension, and that Henry was likely to play under the tag this upcoming season. But shortly after the deadline, ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news that Henry had secured a four-year, $50 million deal that includes $25.5 million guaranteed.
In 2019, Henry led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns while averaging 18.9 carries a game -- even though he averaged a whopping 24.7 carries over the final nine games. The Titans averaged 30.9 points per game over this stretch, but Henry paid the price by recording 25-plus carries four times, including three consecutive games recording 30-plus rushing attempts (96 total). Overall, Henry recorded 386 carries in 2020, which ranks among the top 25 all-time for rushing attempts in a combined regular and postseason. He was the main reason the Titans made it all the way to the AFC Championship game last season, and the Titans are making sure he will be a part of their long-term plans.
Recent history indicates that resetting the running back market is not in the best interest of teams. In April, the Carolina Panthers reset the market by signing Christian McCaffrey to a four-year deal worth $16 million per season. His prowess as both a runner and pass-catcher has made him one of the most elite offensive weapons in the NFL, but it's hard to argue against the fact that while Henry isn't an elite receiver, his 446 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs last year made up one of the most impressive postseason performances in recent memory. Henry's average of $12.5 million per year ranks fifth in the NFL in average salary for running backs behind McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell and David Johnson, per Spotrac.
Henry was originally drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Titans out of the University of Alabama, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 2015. In 62 career regular-season games, he has rushed for 3,833 yards and 38 touchdowns while averaging 4.8 yards per attempt.