Derrick Henry is in line for a massive payday this offseason and he’ll have a list of suitors in 2020 NFL free agency but where is his best landing spot?
It’s been a long road for Derrick Henry. After being selected by the Tennessee Titans in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the former Alabama product was expected to be a dominant running back at the pro-level.
He had just come off of a 2015 season where he was the workhorse for the Crimson Tide, carrying the ball 395 times for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns. The Heisman Trophy winner looked as though he could be a capable bell-cow running back in the NFL and a staple in the Titans run game.
Unfortunately, he had trouble commanding the backfield at the start of his career. During his first two NFL seasons, Henry split time with former First-Team All-Pro running back Demarco Murray. Murray carved out a more extensive role than his running mate, carrying the ball 191 more times than Henry across their two seasons together.
While Henry performed admirably, averaging approximately 4.3 yards per carry and scoring 10 rushing touchdowns in his first two years in the NFL, his ceiling was capped by his timeshare with Murray.
After Murray retired, Henry was still stuck in a backfield committee. He shared time with newly signed Dion Lewis, an ex-New England Patriots scatback who resurrected his career in Foxborough. While Henry carried the ball 215 times for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018, Lewis was still a thorn in his side, as he stole 155 carries from Henry.
Luckily for Henry, his 2019 breakout season coincided with his contract year. Lewis took a diminished role in the offense, only managing 54 carries and receiving playing time in obvious pass situations. Henry was allowed to be the lead back for the first time since his Alabama days and he delivered.
The former second-round pick rushed the ball over 300 times for 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns in the regular season and won the NFL’s rushing title. While he didn’t do much in the receiving game, Henry was a force on the ground and the impetus behind the Titans’ postseason run.
Henry broke a NFL playoff record by rushing for the most yards in a single postseason (not including the Super Bowl), accumulating 446 yards on the ground. He rushed for 182 yards in Foxborough against the sixth-ranked New England rush defense and followed that performance up with a 195-yard outing versus the fifth-ranked Ravens rush defense in Baltimore.
He scored three total touchdowns in the postseason, including a passing score, and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. Henry nearly carried his team to a Super Bowl berth.
Now, with Tennessee likely to franchise tag Ryan Tannehill, Henry will be headed for unrestricted free agency and a big payday. There are bound to be multiple teams interested, so let’s take a look at the five best landing spots for Derrick Henry and examine how each will fit.