June 25, 2024

Derrick Henry is about to become a free agent. The 30-year-old running back addressed his goodbyes to the Tennessee Titans fans at the end of the final regular season game, indicating that he is looking for a new team.

He’s specifically looking for one that he can help win the Super Bowl.

The four-time Pro Bowl selection recently confessed that he wished the Miami Dolphins had picked him during his Bussin’ With the Boys podcast Interview.

“I wanted to go to Miami,” Henry, a Jacksonville native, told former Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan’s podcast about the draft process in 2016. “I wanted to play for the Dolphins.” That is where I wanted to go. That’s where I believed I was headed. I pondered about going to the Panthers. I believed there was a slight chance I’d join the Cowboys, but I probably assumed they’d sign Zeke [Elliott].”

The Titans selected Henry in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft, 45th overall. The Dolphins drafted Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard with the 38th pick, followed by tailback Kenyan Drake, Henry’s Alabama teammate, with the 73rd choice in the third round.

While Drake had some strong seasons in Miami, Henry carried for more than 1,000 yards for the fifth time in his eight-year career.

Henry remains a productive back.
This past season, Henry rushed for 1,167 yards and 12 touchdowns on 280 rushes, and there’s plenty of evidence that the power back still has enough in the tank.

While Henry isn’t ruling out staying in Nashville, he believes he and the Titans are likely headed in opposite directions.

“I’m not saying it’s closed,” Henry stated during the interview, which was recorded on January 9. “But I have a feeling they are going in a different direction.” I believe [Vrabel’s firing] has solidified that. And that’s okay. That happens. That is the nature of the business. We want something that lasts forever. Nothing does, especially in this business. I will always be a Titan, even if I do not return.

“At the end of the day, I want to win the Super Bowl,” Henry explained. “I want to go wherever I have the best chance. I have no bad blood or any negative feelings if I don’t return. It’s exactly what was supposed to happen. The story has already been written; we are all just living it.”

 

Titans' Derrick Henry Reveals What He Wants In NFL Free Agency | Yardbarker

 

How much does Henry have left?

Henry recorded a top speed of 21.68 mph on his 69-yard run, which tied for the seventh-highest speed by a ball carrier in 2023 and was Henry’s quickest play since Week 6, 2021 (career-high 21.80 mph).

He definitely expressed interest in the Dolphins during the selection process, so it’s reasonable to wonder if he’s the type of back who can assist the Dolphins improve the team’s finesse reputation.

This season, the Dolphins produced the franchise’s most efficient running assault since 2002, gaining 2,308 yards on 456 carries and averaging an NFL-leading 5.1 yards per attempt, but they struggled to convert on short yardage plays and ranked 18th in goal-to-go situations on offense.

It is likely that a powerful back like Henry would improve Miami’s backfield, which already included Raheem Mostert and rookie wonder De’Von Achane, but at what cost?

Best tailbacks in free agency.

Henry, who earned $12.5 million last season, joins Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs, Dallas’ Tony Pollard, New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley, Philadelphia’s De’Andre Swift, and Los Angeles Chargers tailback Austin Ekeler as the top veteran running backs available in free agency, which begins on March 11, the date teams can negotiate with free agents before the league year begins on March 13.
So any squad in need of a tailback improvement will have a lot of possibilities.

The problem is that the Dolphins are $41 million over the NFL’s anticipated salary cap and will need to dismiss players and restructure contracts just to get back to baseline and reduce the cap deficit before the March 13 deadline.

That doesn’t even take into account the cap space required to sign the team’s own free agents, such as defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who will most likely be given a franchise tag worth $19 million, and offensive linemen Robert Hunt and Connor Williams, among others, as well as newcomers like Henry, who could help the team in areas where it needs it most.
Henry, who has averaged 253 rushing attempts over the last eight seasons, has been the Titans’ main driver of success the last five years. He has 93 touchdowns in his eight seasons. However, there is concern that he has handled 2,030 career carries and is going to deteriorate.

Elliott is the only active tailback with more carries, with 35 more than Elliott, who ranks 42nd in NFL career attempts. It’s quite improbable that Henry will be able to take 250 or more carries per season in his 30s, but that will depend on where he signs and what his role will be in the future.

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