Since Derrick Henry was placed under the franchise tag for the 2020 season by the Tennessee Titans, there hadn’t been any clarity about whether he would secure a long-term deal with the organization before Wednesday’s deadline. With that in mind, Henry has made no mistake about taking advantage of the situation to make the best he has ever made in his NFL career.
Derrick Henry’s rise to stardom
Through his first few seasons in the league, Derrick Henry has continued to improve and showcase that he is the workhorse running back that the Titans need to anchor their offense.
Henry put that on full display in the 2019 campaign, which was was the most productive season of his career as he posted career highs with 1,540 rushing yards on 303 attempts and 16 rushing touchdowns. He continued that momentum into the playoffs as he was the first rushing champion in over two decades with a 100-yard rushing game.
Henry was also the second player in NFL history with three playoff games with 150-plus rushing yards and the only player with back-to-back 175-plus rushing yard performances. Beyond that, he demonstrated that his production pushed the franchise to success as the guiding force to an AFC title berth.
That saw Henry placed under the franchise tag for the 2020 season. That has led to him garnering a lucrative contract from Tennessee to remain with the franchise for the long haul.
Derrick Henry made the best decision of his career
Derrick Henry’s impressive performance in the 2019 season could haven’t come at a better time as it put him in a spot to secure a lucrative deal.
It didn’t start in the manner that he would have preferred, but the 26-year-old has worked his way toward garnering a much-deserved contract. Henry could have easily decided to bet on himself for another season to secure that massive extension next offseason. Instead, he chose to strike when the iron is hot and work out a deal that likely makes him one of the league’s highest-paid running backs.
Many different factors could easily change the situation with injury being above all else the game-changing factor. Henry has the financial security that he desires and erases all doubts or questions about his long-term future in Tennessee. He has cemented himself as the centerpiece of the franchise moving forward.
It’s a situation that many of his peers, such as Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones, and Joe Mixon, and Kenyan Drake are taking notes on how it was handled. These running backs is in position to cash in a significant way and how the Titans and Henry worked through it could be the standard that they each hope things unfold next offseason.
Titans’ bright future ahead
The Titans experienced ups and downs during the 2019 season, but they looked to have found a formula toward success in the second half of the year.
That saw them go 7-3 with Ryan Tannehill under center while Derrick Henry took over as the leading factor in the offensive game plan. It translated to them having the deepest playoff run in nearly two decades. Tennessee didn’t waste the opportunity to secure both Tannehill and Henry’s long-term future to stabilize their future.
It’s still a wait-and-see process to know if their strong run last season will translate into continued success, but the franchise has allowed themselves to see that possibly happen. Henry has the potential to put forth some highly productive campaigns ahead that could be the guiding force to the Titans finally experiencing sustained success and become a powerhouse in the AFC.