According to a report from Bally Sports’ Michael Silver, Tennessee Titans GM Ran Carthon has engaged in talks to trade superstar running back Derrick Henry, the seven-year cornerstone of the Titans’ franchise and most integral figure to the Titans’ physical, hard-nosed identity. Silver said his sources were current NFL GMs, and included Henry in a report that also implicated Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins as players who were shopped at last week’s NFL Scouting Combine.
At face value, trading Henry feels like if McDonald’s traded Ronald McDonald to Arby’s for a packet of Horsey Sauce and some meats to be named later. Teams don’t make a habit of trading away their hearts and souls very often. Especially not when those hearts and souls are coming off a season with 1,538 yards and 13 touchdowns rushing.
That’s not for lack of trying on the Titans’ part. In three of the last four years, Henry has led the NFL in rush attempts. In that fourth year, Henry had 219 carries in eight games before suffering a season-ending injury. In a 17-game season last year, Henry was on pace for 465 carries, which would’ve been an NFL record. This excessive usage has resulted in some very strong seasons for Henry. He led the NFL in rushing yards in 2019 and 2020, breaking the 2,000-yard rushing mark in the latter season. In the 2021 injury-shortened season, Henry was on pace to be approach 2,000 yards rushing for the second straight year. He’s also recorded double-digit touchdowns every season since his second year in the league, including the eight-game 2021 season.
Henry has a 2023 base salary of $10.5 million, which is completely non-guaranteed, and trading him would come with $6.3 million in cap savings. He’s scheduled to hit free agency next offseason.
Henry, who turned 29 in January, has spent his entire seven-year career with Tennessee. The three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro has eclipsed 1,500 yards rushing in three of the past four seasons. The only time he failed to do so was in 2021 when he recorded 937 yards while being limited to just eight games.
After trading wide receiver A.J. Brown last offseason, the Titans have let go of several notable veterans in the wake of a 7-10 season. Offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, wide receiver Robert Woods, linebacker Zach Cunningham and kicker Randy Bullock were cut last month, while linebacker Bud Dupree reportedly is expected to be released.
Despite those impressive numbers, it’s hard to say what the Titans will be able to get in a trade for Henry. For one, he’s almost 30 years old, which is usually where running backs start to fade during their career. That being said, it only takes one team to make a big offer and if there’s a desperate team out there, the Titans could get a big haul.
One interesting possibility would be the Buffalo Bills. Henry was recently working out with Von Miller and it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that the two at least mentioned the possibility of Henry eventually making his way to Buffalo.
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