Derrick Henry

Titans Give RB Derrick Henry Raise

Derrick Henry will collect a bit more money than expected this season. The Titans authorized a $2MM raise for the two-time rushing champion, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Tennessee is taking $2MM off Henry’s 2023 salary, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (on Twitter), bumping his 2022 wages from $12MM to $14MM. Thursday’s agreement does not change Henry’s contractual timeline, however. Henry remains signed through the 2023 season, but this deal bumps him to the top of the running backs list for 2022 cash, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler adds (via Twitter).

This raise is contingent on Henry’s availability, but it also will provide cash to the All-Pro sooner in the form of a $9MM signing bonus, Florio adds. This popular genre of restructure will create cap space for the Titans, who have dropped Henry’s 2022 base salary from $12MM to $4MM. The other $1MM in the $2MM bump will be available through gameday roster bonuses, which will only pay out if Henry is active for Tennessee contests. Henry missed nine of those last season.

This does set up the possibility of 2022 being Henry’s final year on his current deal. Should the bulldozing back re-emerge from his injury-abbreviated 2021 season with another strong year, the Titans may end up rewarding him again. This restructure also stands to make it more difficult for the Titans to move on from Henry in 2023. Prior to Thursday’s reworking, the Titans would have only incurred $3MM in dead money by releasing Henry. A higher charge would come from such a transaction now. Henry’s 2023 cap hit also will rise from its previous $15.5MM place.

The prospect of a new Henry deal emerged earlier this offseason. His current pact (four years, $50MM; agreed to at the 2020 franchise tag deadline) is not exactly out of step with the slow-moving (at the top, at least) running back market, but Florio adds the thinking behind this move is a third Henry contract could come to pass before next season. Henry’s deal is in line with the contracts given to Nick Chubb Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones and Joe Mixon — each of whom being attached to a contract between $12-$12.6MM per year — though it does sit behind Christian McCaffrey ($16MM), Ezekiel Elliott and Alvin Kamara ($15MM).

A discussion on releasing Henry next year is obviously premature, but running back declines happen earlier than they do at just about every other position. The Jones fracture the former Heisman winner suffered derailed a monster 2021 season — one in which he still finished in the top 10 in rushing yards despite the two-month absence — and does invite questions about his future form. Henry will turn 29 before season’s end.

That said, Tennessee should need Henry more in 2022 than it did last season. After letting backup D’Onta Foreman walk in free agency, the Titans traded A.J. Brown to the Eagles. The player the team brought in to replace the Pro Bowl wideout, first-round pick Treylon Burks, has also not shown readiness to be a locked-in early-season starter. With trade acquisition Robert Woods also coming off an ACL tear, the Titans will need their cornerstone skill player to bounce back.

Tennessee also lost two of its 2021 starting O-line, cutting guard Rodger Saffold and letting right tackle David Quessenberry leave as a UFA for Buffalo, potentially raising the degree of difficulty for Henry’s seventh season. Prior to Henry’s foot fracture, however, he had missed just two games through 5 1/2 seasons. The Titans will hope the previous career trend, despite the steep mileage put on Henry’s odometer from 2019-21, is more indicative of Henry’s path than his 2021 season is.

Titans RB Derrick Henry Open To Extension

We heard last month that the Titans were interested in extending Derrick Henry. Well, it sounds like the star running back is open to an extension, as well. Speaking to Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky, Henry said he’d be interested in signing another deal with Tennessee.

[RELATED: Titans Considering Derrick Henry Extension?]

“It’s always good to get a promotion at your job,” Henry said. “A promotion is always good. I’m trying to work through that but I’m currently still under contract. If that’s what the future holds, then yeah, that’d be great.”

Back in 2020, Henry inked a four-year, $50MM deal that would keep him on the Titans through the 2023 campaign. In terms of average annual value, the deal ranks fifth at the position (behind Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dalvin Cook). While he’s coming off a significant injury, Henry has otherwise been healthy throughout his NFL career, so an extension could help him climb that AAV leaderboard. At the very least, a new extension could garner Henry some addition guarantees while carving out some extra space for the Titans.

Henry was prolific in both the 2019 and 2020 seasons, and he carried that production over to 2021. Through the first eight games, the RB compiled 1,091 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns. While his yards per carry was way down (5.4 in 2020 to 4.3 in 2021), he was on track to have a career year in the receiving game. A foot injury knocked him out for the final nine games of the regular season, and while he managed to return for the Titans playoff loss, most of his offseason focus has been on his health.

“I’m doing a lot of footwork, making sure that I am finding my toes, he always tells me that when I am working out, just so I am balancing my foot,” Henry told Kuharsky. “I feel good, I am running hills, doing restricted running, all those types of things to make sure I am ready.” 

Titans Considering Derrick Henry Extension?

Derrick Henry is coming off his first significant injury as a pro, having missed nine regular-season games before returning for the Titans’ divisional-round tilt. But the two-time rushing champion had amassed a staggering lead on the rest of the NFL at the time he suffered the foot ailment; he still finished ninth in rushing last season.

The Titans have Henry signed through 2023, by virtue of the four-year, $50MM extension the parties agreed to just before the 2020 franchise tag deadline. But the team is open to doing another deal with its star running back, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes.

Although third running back contracts for notable sums are exceedingly rare in the modern NFL, another Henry-Titans pact would help the team create near-future cap space. Henry would also collect some guaranteed money; the guarantees on his current deal ended after last season. A new deal, however, could tag Tennessee with dead money down the road. As is, Henry is attached to $15MM cap numbers in 2022 and ’23. The Titans are near the bottom of the NFL in cap space, holding barely $3MM.

Since paying Henry two summers ago, the Titans have opted not to extend Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith and A.J. Brown. Henry and Robert Woods‘ nonguaranteed contracts represent the only noteworthy veteran salaries among Titan skill-position players presently. Tennessee’s post-Brown plan will place pressure on first-round pick Treylon Burks, who will essentially replace the traded wide receiver, and for Henry to keep delivering top-shelf backfield work.

Henry is entering his age-28 season. He compiled workhorse carry totals for the past two-plus seasons, but his first three years — when he spent much of that time alongside DeMarco Murray — kept those numbers down. Henry’s per-carry average did drop to 4.3 last season, down from north of five yards per tote in 2019 and ’20, and he is sitting on 1,401 career carries (second-most among projected starting backs, behind only Ezekiel Elliott‘s 1,650). It will be interesting to see what kind of effect Henry’s recent handoff counts (303 in 2019, 378 in 2020 and 219 in an abbreviated ’21) have on his 2022 form.

Titans Expect Derrick Henry To Be Fully Healthy In 2022

The Titans were indeed able to get superstar running back Derrick Henry back in the lineup on Saturday, marking an impressive return to the field after suffering what was initially thought to be a season-ending injury. While Tennessee wound up on the losing end of that game, it is expected that he will be fully healthy for the beginning of next season. 

As Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk writes, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel addressed his star’s health status at a press conference on Monday. He said, “I think he’s fully healed. I know he’s fully healed”, referring to the Jones Fracture Henry suffered in Week 8. Vrabel added, “I’m sure he’ll have a great offseason”, paving the way for the 28-year-old to carry on as the league’s preeminent workhouse back.

When asked whether wear and tear led to the injury, Vrabel responded that he “didn’t get that sense from any doctor”. Henry had 219 carries in those first eight games, putting him on pace for the highest total of his career. He was ultimately able to work his way back to full health in time for the Divisional Round, allowing the team to give him 20 carries against the Bengals, although he managed to turn those into just 62 yards.

Considering the production Henry had in less than half of one season (a league-leading 937 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns), it would of course be a huge boost to the Titans if he were to be healed and able to pick up where he left off in 2022.

Titans Activate RB Derrick Henry

On the precipice of a long-rumored return, Derrick Henry is all but set to take the field Saturday. The two-time rushing champion is back on the Titans’ active roster.

The Titans activated Henry from IR on Friday. This is a procedural move, with Henry needing to be bumped up to the active roster by this afternoon in order to play against the Bengals. Linked to returning in the playoffs for several weeks now, the bulldozing running back is now eligible to do so.

Henry has not played since Week 8 but returned to practice Jan. 5. Despite missing more than half the season, Tennessee’s sixth-year back finished in the top 10 in rushing. The Titans gave their superstar an extra week to rehab by securing the AFC’s top seed. It will be interesting to see how the team deploys Henry, considering his lengthy absence due to a foot fracture.

The NFL’s rushing champion in 2019 and ’20, Henry played a significant role in Ryan Tannehill‘s turnaround and in the Titans advancing to the playoffs during those seasons. He was on pace for another 2,000-yard season this year, but the Halloween injury stalled his run. During Henry’s hiatus, the Titans landed on D’Onta Foreman as their starter. The former third-round pick should still be expected to play a role against Cincinnati, but Henry has moved back into position to reclaim his starting job.

Latest On Titans’ Backfield Situation

Although a Derrick Henry return in Week 18 surfaced as a possibility weeks ago, the Titans will remain cautious with the two-time reigning rushing champion.

Tennessee will not activate Henry from IR on Saturday, keeping him shelved until the playoffs. The Titans designated Henry for return this week, giving them options moving forward. Henry’s ramp-up period can last up until before the AFC championship game, should the Titans’ season extend that far. But the team has long been preparing to have its top weapon ready to go before that point.

Henry has been out since suffering a Jones fracture in his foot in Week 8. The Titans initially struggled to pick up the pieces, and they moved on from Adrian Peterson fairly quickly. However, the AFC South champs have since seen D’Onta Foreman — also a midseason pickup following Henry’s injury — begin to establish himself as a starter. Foreman has notched three 100-yard games over his past five. Should Henry indeed return to action in the playoffs, Foreman would stand to be a key off-the-bench performer.

For now, however, the Titans are reshuffling their backfield. One of the early candidates to replace Henry, Jeremy McNichols, is no longer on the roster. The Titans waived the veteran backup Saturday and promoted Jordan Wilkins from their practice squad. A former Colts fifth-round pick, Wilkins caught on with the Titans after a midseason Indianapolis exit. He joins Dontrell Hilliard alongside Foreman on Tennessee’s active roster.

Wilkins topped 5.5 yards per carry in each of his first two seasons, playing behind Marlon Mack, and eclipsed 300 rushing yards in each of his first three. Now rostering the NFL’s rushing leader in Jonathan Taylor, the Colts dropped Wilkins this season. A former Buccaneers fifth-round pick who also spent time with the Colts, McNichols has been with the Titans for the past two seasons. He is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry this year, on 41 totes, and saw Foreman take over the backfield down the stretch.

The Titans also promoted defensive linemen Da’Shawn Hand and Kevin Strong on Saturday. The team has a chance to clinch home-field advantage for the first time since 2008 Sunday. A win over the Texans would secure Tennessee the AFC’s No. 1 seed. This would obviously be beneficial for both the Titans and Henry. The Chiefs would recapture the conference’s top slot with a win over the Broncos today and a subsequent Titans loss.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/5/22

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears 

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Titans Designate Derrick Henry For Return

It’s official. On Wednesday, the Titans announced that they have designated running back Derrick Henry for return from the injured reserve list. 

This was the expected news after weeks of positive updates on Henry’s surgically-repaired foot. Once thought to be a season-ender, Henry has beat his initial recovery timeline by a mile. From here, the Titans could conceivably activate Henry for this week’s game against the Texans, though they may prefer to take the cautious approach.

Henry led the league in 2019 with 1,540 rushing yards last year while notching a total of 18 touchdowns. Last year, he set a new personal watermark with 2,027 yards via the ground, 17 rushing TDs, and 21 total scores.

The Titans have managed an 11-5 record despite playing much of the year without Henry, but they’re clearly a better team with him on the field. From here, the Titans plan to ease Henry back into practice and assess whether to dress him on Sunday. If Henry can’t go, the Titans will continue to use D’Onta Foreman as their lead back, a plan that has served them well so far. Just last week, Foreman turned back the clock to rack up 132 rushing yards against the Dolphins.

Latest On Titans’ Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry is expected to practice with the Titans on Wednesday (Twitter link via Dianna Russini of ESPN.com). This marks yet another step forward for the star running back who is expected to be a full go for the playoffs.

[RELATED: Titans Cut Golden Tate]

There’s even a chance that Henry could play against the Texans in the season finale, Russini hears, though that’s thought to be something of a long shot. The Titans, of course, will be heavily favored with or without Henry, but they can clinch the AFC’s only first-round bye with a win.

Henry has been out since October after undergoing foot surgery. At the time of his injury in Week 8, he led the league in rushing yards (937) and rushing touchdowns (10). Extrapolated for a full season, that would have given Henry 2,027 rushing yards — enough to put him in Eric Dickerson territory, albeit with an extra game — and 17 touchdowns.

If Henry doesn’t play on Sunday, the Titans will continue to use D’Onta Foreman as their lead rusher. Foreman alone could be enough to give Houston fits, as shown by his 132-yard performance against the Dolphins last week.

Latest On Derrick Henry

Titans’ head coach Mike Vrabel informed reporters that running back Derrick Henry‘s 3-week return window could start this Wednesday after doing some work today, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter). The reigning holder of the rushing title has missed the last 8 games of the season with a foot injury. 

Henry opted to undergo potentially season-ending foot surgery after breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his foot in the first half of Tennessee’s win in Indianapolis. His timeline for a return sat at around 6-10 weeks, which is turning out to be fairly accurate, meaning he could return for a Titans playoff run.

At the time of his injury, Henry led the league in rushing yards, with 937, and rushing touchdowns, with 10. Through 8 games, those numbers are astounding. In fact, if he had not been injured, and continued to hold that same pace of production, Henry would still lead the league in rushing yards and touchdowns and would be pushing close to his 2020 career-best of 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns. Henry was just short of being on pace to be the first player in NFL history with two 2,000-yard rushing seasons in a career, let alone consecutively. D’Onta Foreman has done an admirable job showing up in Tennessee to fill in, but the return of Henry would immediately boost the Titans’ odds of win their first ever Super Bowl.

The Titans currently sit as the 1st Seed in the AFC and can clinch the conference’s only first round bye with a win over the Texans in Houston. That would give Henry an extra week of healthy practice as he works his way back to the game. The timing could line up perfectly for the Henry and the Titans, who have won consecutive division titles and are starting to become a mainstay in the NFL playoff picture with four appearances in the last five years.