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Derrick Henry contract extension could be on the horizon for Titans?

Sportsnaut logo Sportsnaut 5/18/2022 Vincent Frank, Sportsnaut
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry © Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry has been the single-most dominant player at his position over the past three seasons.

Prior to missing nine games during the 2021 campaign due to a Jones fracture in his foot, Henry earned NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors back in 2020. Immediately ahead of that 2020 performance, the former Alabama standout signed a four-year, $50 million extension with the Titans.

Now 28 years old, there’s a chance that Henry could cash in on that rare third contract for a running back. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Tennessee is open to extending Henry ahead of the 2022 season.

It must be noted that this isn’t out of the kindness of the Titans’ heart. They are in salary-cap hell, as evidenced by the shocking decision to trade star wide receiver A.J. Brown during the 2022 NFL Draft.

Heading into Week 1, Tennessee finds itself a mere $3 million under the cap. Veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill is set to count a combined $75.4 million against the cap over the next two seasons. No extension appears to be in the cards on that front with Tennessee having drafted Malik Willis back in late April.

What might a Derrick Henry contract extension look like?

First off, any new deal would be done under the guise of the Titans lowering his $15 million cap hit for the 2022 season. That cap hit comes in No. 2 among NFL running backs behind Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys.

Henry currently finds himself as the fifth-highest-paid running back in the NFL in terms of average annual salary. Based on his production, the two-time Pro Bowler is vastly underpaid.

  • Derrick Henry stats (2019-21): 4,504 rushing yards, 55 receptions, 474 yards, 4,978 total yards, 45 TD, 5.2 yards per touch

Any new deal would likely top $17 million annually while adding only a season or two to Henry’s current contract. He’s 28 years old and had a down 2021 season (by his standards) before injury. Having acted the part of a workhorse since taking over full-time duties back in 2018, there’s no telling how much time Henry has left in his prime.

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