Will This Week Bring a Big Contract for Former Alabama Running Back Derrick Henry?

Christopher Walsh

It's a big week for former Alabama running back Derrick Henry, who figures to learn a lot about his long-term future in the National Football League. 

The Tennessee Titans have until Wednesday to negotiate a long-term deal or the NFL's rushing leader will be playing on the franchise tag in 2020.

Granted, he'd still make $10.2 million after the Titans placed the franchise tag on him, and Henry signed the franchise tender. But he's still hoping to land a contract that will help secure a better salary after the 2020 season. 

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Thursday on NFL Network's NFL NOW that patience is key in getting any long-term solution.

"Derrick signed his franchise tender, he's under contract," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said on NFL Network's NFL NOW on Thursday. "I know that Jon (Robinson, the general manager) and (VP of football administration) Vin Marino have been in contact with his reps. Having been involved with the NFL for a lot of years, getting deals done is about being patient, hopefully keeping them private and confidential. So I'm going to try to respect that, and understand that we love Derrick and he understands how important he is to our football team. 

"Again, his leadership that grew last year, I'm looking forward, I know our team is looking for more of that this year."

Henry keyed the Titans offense while accumulating 1,540 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns on 303 carries. He also had 446 rushing yards and two touchdowns in three playoff games as Tennessee made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game.

However, even though he's had a whopping 500 carries over the past two seasons, there’s a growing trend for running backs in the NFL regarding their second contract as most don’t get the lucrative long-term deal they desire after their rookie contracts expire.

The deadline for reaching an agreement with a player on the franchise tag is July 15th. If no deal is struck, they can't continue to negotiate per league rules. 

Henry's fantasy status

With workhorse running backs rare in the league, Henry's average draft position is top five this year, although he'd probably be higher if he was more involved in the passing game. 

AllTitans editor David Boclair and Sports Illustrated’s Fantasy Football analyst Ben Heisler discuss Henry’s fantasy football outlook for the upcoming season.

As for a comparison, Mark Ingram II is rated 24th among running backs, even though last year he had 1,200 combined yards and 15 touchdowns. The fear is that with the Ravens having drafted J.K. Dobbins it's only a matter of time before the rookie starts taking away snaps and handoffs. Also on the roster are Justice Hill and Gus Edwards.

"He kind of looks like he's going to slip down fantasy drafts," said Jaime Eisner, fantasy gaming analyst for Sports Illustrated. "Right now he's ranked as the consensus RB 24 going in the sixth round. And at that point I'm more than happy to take him."

Did you notice?

• This comment from Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren : "One thing we have to realize that this is not a fait accompli that we’re gonna have sports in the fall. We may not have sports in the fall. We may not have a college football season in the Big Ten.”

• Arizona Cardinals’ owner Michael Bidwell is hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus. 

 NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league will be taking over injury and illness disclosure from teams as a way of protecting player privacy. "Medical privacy is important in this process. Having said that, we understand as a league we have an obligation of some transparency with respect to the COVID virus in particular, so at least for now we're going to maintain a policy where the league is announcing on basically league numbers and clubs are really prohibited from giving any information with respect to COVID test results, and, for purposes of making the system work, any injury information going forward."

The lighter side

• Not even the coronavirus could stop the the Dolores Hill Bomb (aka Fastest Hill Bomb) in San Francisco. 

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson shocked the NFL with an MVP season last season, but whether he can deliver a repeat performance for his fantasy owners in 2020 depends as much on his coaches as it does on him.

• You may have missed this story. Noah Lyles, who is a prolific runner, appeared to break two Usain Bolt records last week, only to have neither count. The first was in the 100m at the Showdown in Otown meet in Florida, but was wind-aided. It didn't count. The second, in the 200 at a Diamond League event, he started in the wrong spot and actually ran 15m less. 

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Comments (5)
No. 1-5
Joey Blackwell
Joey Blackwell


After last season, Henry deserves a fat contract. It's amazing to me that it's taken this long.

Anthony Sisco
Anthony Sisco


Derrick seems to be very durable. Has he ever had a major injury?

Christopher Walsh
Christopher Walsh


Quick update on Bidwell. He was released from a Rhode Island hospital:

"This week I learned first-hand just how serious COVID-19 is," Bidwill said in a statement. "My immense appreciation for all those on the front lines of this pandemic has only increased and I am particularly grateful to the tremendous nurses and doctors at Newport [Rhode Island] Hospital.

"I am also overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness from the Red Sea as well as so many friends and colleagues in Arizona and throughout the country. I'm very fortunate to have this experience behind me and strongly encourage everyone to continue practicing the important measures to avoid it themselves."

Tyler  Martin
Tyler Martin


Not when you pay Ryan Tannehill his $30 million deal...


Noah Lyles, a great talent, wasn't close tp breaking ANY Bolt record in the 100 or 200 meter races. Wind aided, short track or even downhill, he wasn't in the Bolt zone. Britney Spears claimed Bolts record in the 100 earlier this year but the verdict, was the same as Lyles. Not.