Yahoo Sports senior NFL writer Terez Paylor breaks down Derrick Henry's new contract with the Titans and what the move means for other running back deals in the future.
TEREZ PAYLOR: Well, sources confirmed to me that the Tennessee Titans have agreed to an extension with star running back Derrick Henry. Reports say the deal is for four years, 50 million, with 25.5 million guaranteed. And I think this is a very notable deal because of the 14 players who were franchise tagged this year, only two of them got paid, one being the Chiefs star pass rushing defensive tackle Chris Jones, and the other being Henry, a running back.
And the fact that Henry is a running back is very interesting because in recent years, we've seen teams start to make the decision that they don't want to pay these guys. However, I think the Titans decided to pay Henry for some pretty clear reasons. First of all, this is pretty good value. He's only 26. He just turned 26 this year, so he's got at least three more years of his prime left. And last year, let's face it, he was outstanding.
He rushed for over 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is the focal point of their offense, and he fits their style of play. In fact, he's arguably the best fit stylistically of a team and a player in the league. And when you consider the fact he's very effective with their smashmouth style and what they want to do and the fact now he's only fifth in APY among running backs, that's a pretty good value and a pretty good deal. Plus, it shows that you're willing to reward your homegrown guys, which improves buy in.
And remember, the franchise tag, which Henry would have had to play under this year, that does create animosity. And I'm sure this year Tennessee wants to build on the AFC championship run they made last year. They don't really have a whole lot of time for that. They returned a bunch of starters from last year's team. Continuity is going to matter. They're going to try to make a run at the Super Bowl this year. From Henry's perspective, you might wonder why he would do this deal.
The money's pretty good. But considering how much he means to the offense, you can make an argument that he should have pushed for more. However, life is about leverage, and I really don't feel like Henry had a ton here. He was on the 10.2 million franchise tender. And if the Titans had just franchised him the next year, that would have paid him an average of about 11 million in the next two years. By signing this contract, he gets a little bit more than that. And-- and most importantly, he get some security in a time where nothing is secure, right?
We have no idea whether or not games are fully going to get played this year. We don't know what that's going to do to the revenues. All that is safe to say. We don't know what the salary cap next year is going to look like, OK? And with that said, it was a surprise that Henry got a deal done with the Titans. Again, running backs haven't been getting paid. But in this unique instance, I think it made sense for the Titans to go ahead and do it, and I certainly think it made sense for Derrick Henry to go ahead and sign.