Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 24, 2023

Bring back Henry at lower cost

What do the Titans do about Derrick Henry? Since Mike Vrabel took over as head coach in 2018, Henry has been the focal point of his offense, highlighted by a 2,000-yard rushing season in 2020.

That has changed, slightly, this season as the Titans have phased in rookie Tyjae Spears when they can. But the Titans have been so far behind in games lately against Tampa Bay and Jacksonville that it hasn’t even allowed Henry to get on the field consistently because the Titans have to think pass first.

Throughout the offseason, there were no inklings that Henry, who turns 30 just three days before the Titans season finale at home against Jacksonville, is about to get a third contract from the club that drafted him in 2016.

If Henry is amenable to re-signing, the Titans probably would be wise to do so.

Now, that’s not to say Henry needs to be the centerpiece of the offense the way he was from 2018-22. He needs to be a complementary piece to an offense that needs a complete overhaul in terms of both personnel and philosophy.

But a veteran running back who still seems to have plenty left in the tank – as long as somebody blocks for him – should be brought back and allowed to finish his career with the Titans if he wants to. He is within range of breaking Eddie George’s all-time franchise rushing record and is maybe the only player this franchise has produced since it moved to Tennessee that could someday be considered for the Hall of Fame.

The NFL is a business, of course, and the Titans might decide as they get ready to rebuild that Henry is yesterday’s news, no matter what the price. Steve McNair, Eddie George, Derrick Mason and other Titans legends didn’t survive drastic rebuilds.

But if Henry wants to stay, he could be a stabilizing force in the locker room and for young QB Will Levis. He might also be good for business as the Titans look headed for some lean times for the paying customers.

That said, Henry has yet to say what his plans are. No one would blame him if he decided at the end of the season that he would rather join a contender and have a chance to play in a Super Bowl.

But if Henry wants to finish his career in Nashville as part of a Titans rebuild, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to give him that opportunity. He still has a lot to offer.