Beating the deadline, star running back Derrick Henry agreed to four-year, $50 million extension with the Tennessee Titans, per Adam Schefter.
Henry broke out in a major way in 2019, leading the NFL in rushing yards (1,540) while tying Aaron Jones for the most rushing touchdowns (16). He hit his stride when quarterback Ryan Tannehill took over as the starter in Week 7, averaging 22.3 fantasy points-per-game from that point on in half-PPR scoring. He finished as the overall RB3 in 2019 and this extension keeps the core of Tennessee’s offense intact for the foreseeable future after general manager Jon Robinson resigned the aforementioned Tannehill earlier this off-season.
We all saw how important Henry was to this team, allowing Tannehill to operate efficiently out of play-action whenever Henry wasn’t punishing defenders on the field with his brute strength. Look no further than Henry’s ridiculous 99-yard touchdown in 2018 against the Jaguars to see the threat he poses on the ground. Henry also led the league in carries (303), proving once more how important he was to the Titans success. This home run ability pairs perfectly with Tannehill’s ability to find A.J. Brown over the top, who was the second-best wide receiver in football last season in yards-per-catch (19.6). Trust your eyes, Brown is a star in this scheme. This team has the right formula to win games after reaching the AFC Championship last year.
It should be a reassuring deal completed for dynasty owners of Henry who were sweating a stacked 2021 free agency class, potentially featuring Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon, Leonard Fournette, Aaron Jones, Marlon Mack, Todd Gurley, Kenyan Drake and Phillip Lindsay, to name just a few in a star-studded group. With teams leaning to go younger and cheaper at the running back position, Henry and his fantasy groupies should be thrilled. He is a locked-and-loaded RB1.
The $25.5 million in guaranteed money isn’t ideal, but it will certainly do. It locks Henry in for two years and beyond that, it’s up to Henry to earn his worth. This could also help extension talks for the 2021 free agency running backs, namely Cook, Mixon and Drake, who are all publicly seeking new deals before the summer concludes.
For dynasty owners who were hoping for a Darrynton Evans takeover in 2021, sorry. But Evans will still be among the league’s most valuable handcuffs and could see work on third downs. He was hand-picked by this regime in the third round for a reason, and with Henry’s skill set Evans could and should complement the bruising back nicely.
Henry is now signed through the 2024 season.