The Titans and star running back Derrick Henry have been negotiating a long-term pact for at least the past six weeks or so, but as Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com writes, no extension is imminent. If the two sides cannot agree to terms by July 15, Henry will play out the 2020 season on his $10.278MM franchise tender.
Henry has already signed the tender, so there won’t be a holdout if nothing gets done by the deadline. But teams have been generally hesitant to authorize large extensions in the uncertain financial climate created by COVID-19, and running backs sometimes have difficulty securing big paydays even under normal circumstances.
On the other hand, Henry is not a normal running back. Thanks to relatively light usage over his first three years in the league, he should have plenty of tread left on his tires, and he is coming off a remarkable campaign in which he led the league in rushing and quite literally carried the Titans to a surprise appearance in the AFC Championship Game. He piled up 1,540 yards and 16 TDs on 303 carries, and he added another 206 yards and two TDs through the air. As such, he is surely shooting for a deal worth at least $15MM per year, with at least $30MM guaranteed at signing.
Given his importance to the team, that doesn’t seem like much of a stretch, but it sounds as if there is still a large gap to bridge between player and team. Nonetheless, McCormick says both sides remain amenable to an extension and plan to continue talking right up to the deadline if necessary.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.