Derrick Henry and Titans Reach Long-Term Deal Ahead of Deadline

Henry is signing a four-year, $50 million contract to stay in Tennessee 

Running back Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry during the first half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game.
Maddie Meyer/Getty
By Evan Bleier / July 15, 2020 5:21 pm

Ahead of the deadline to sign players who’d been hit with the franchise tag, the Tennessee Titans and star running back Derrick Henry reached an agreement on a four-year, $50 million deal that includes $25.5 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The NFL’s leading rusher in 2019 with 1,540 yards, Henry is now the league’s fifth highest-paid running back in terms of average salary ($12.5 million), behind Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson.

Henry, who turned 26 in January, is coming off a 15-game regular season that included 303 carries and just 18 receptions, both career highs. He also carried the Titans to a pair of upset wins in the playoffs before the team was knocked off by the Chiefs in their third postseason game, a surprise run where he amassed 83 carries for 446 yards and two touchdowns.

Without question, Henry is one of the best backs in football. But investing in him is a risky proposition considering he has touched the football more than 3,000 times during game action throughout high school, college and the NFL.

The 2015 Heisman winner’s deal with the Titans is also reminiscent of the contract Todd Gurley, Henry’s junior by a year, signed with the Rams in 2018. Gurley inked a four-year, $60 million contract (including $45 million guaranteed) and was cut by LA two seasons later due to ineffectiveness. (He’s since signed with the Falcons.)

Maybe things will be different for Henry, but history is not on his side as the majority of NFL running backs, many of whom have taken far less of a pounding than the former Alabama star, take a big hit in production by the time they turn 27.

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