King Henry’s reign in Nashville seems to be drawing to a close.
Titans running back Derrick Henry was bought around during the NFL Combine by Bally Sports, according to Michael Silver, fueling rumors he could be dealt before the draft.
At 29, Henry is still at the top of his game. He rushed for 1,538 yards in 2022, the second-highest total in the league. He also led the league with 349 carries and enjoyed his lead back role.
While it seems like Henry still has a lot to offer, the reality is that he’s nearing 30 — an age that can prove disastrous for Staus’ careers. Memories of his injury-plagued 2021 campaign are still fresh and could hurt his commercial value.
Overall, Henry might still be the best defender in the league. But as a senior running back with a $16 million cap next year, it’s certainly a risk. Also, Henry is a bruise. That helps a lot of teams in the league.
However, he doesn’t offer the versatility of Christian McCaffrey, another often-injured star, who had four picks when Carolina traded him to San Francisco last year. Given his age profile, style of play and overall reputation in the league, it seems unlikely Henry can post a return to match CMC’s.
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Even so, Tennessee appears to be all-in on some sort of rebuild. Henry’s departure would be the second high-profile star to part ways with the Titans in as many years, following in AJ Brown’s footsteps.
It seems to be a question of when, not if, Tennessee trades its All-Pro. But which teams could benefit from his acquisition? In short, a lot. Here’s a rundown of some of the sites that could get your hands on the king.
Derrick Henry Landing Pads
Led by Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, the Bills have one of the best offenses in football. However, as Buffalo’s postseason loss to the Bengals proved, this offense could always use a little more firepower, especially when cold January conditions in Highmark start to ease.
In this case, who could land better than Henry? He is a dominant defender who has proven his talent time and time again against the league’s best defenders. He could also use a reduction in his workload, which Buffalo’s explosive passing would almost certainly do for him. The thought of Henry and Allen working together on RPOs is also compelling; You can’t imagine there being much scarier tandems walking down the open country than these two.
Oh, and Henry has been training with Bill’s linebacker Von Miller this offseason. Did someone say recruiting pitch?
From Miller with Derrick Henry on his IG story “@KingHenry_2 ???? ????”
— Buffalo Bills Daily (@dailybills_) February 24, 2023
From one AFC East rival to another. The Dolphins are building something special in South Beach, focusing their offense on the elite playmaking skills of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Tua Tagovailoa leveled up after Hill’s arrival and formed a strong connection with the All-Pro wideout. That being said, uncertainty about Tagovailoa’s health coupled with less-than-ideal deep arm skills limits Miami’s flexibility going forward. Henry’s acquisition could go a long way in opening the field for Hill, Waddle and Mike Gesicki, as his penchant for big wins would almost certainly attract defenses in most cases. Perhaps a run for the AFC East crown is on the horizon?
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New England Patriots
Mac Jones’ future is shrouded in mystery. Assuming New England keeps his services — or acquires someone of a similar caliber — the Pats could be in the running for Henry. New England showed willingness to split carries between Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris before Harris was injured. Stevenson showed himself to be a capable double threat outside the backfield, forcing the yards in the air and on the ground. Henry, on the other hand, is a notch above Harris, who dropped out of the rotation when Stevenson showed up. Pairing a talented defender like Henry with a versatile threat like Stevenson could pay off for Bill Belichick’s squad, especially on a passing game that doesn’t inspire much confidence.
Kansas City chiefs
The rich (can) get richer. Kansas City fired Clyde Edwards-Helaire and relied on 2022 seventh-round pick Isaiah Pacheco. Pacheco is skillful, but Henry is Henry. That both backlogs operate on an Andy Reid offense that’s already awash with guns could be particularly enticing, as Patrick Mahomes’ dominance could open up space and time for Pacheco and Henry. The money could be a challenge, especially as Henry would love to trade some carries to young Pacheco. But improvement always costs some green. And bringing Henry into the game would help Kansas City complete what is already a pretty charged offense.
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Much like Kansas City, Philly is in an excellent position heading into 2023. The offensive line is strong, the passing game is silky. Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders earned Pro Bowl honors with impressive showcases last year. Now imagine adding Henry. Sanders doesn’t play every down; The likes of Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott have all seen decent workloads with the talented Stau over the years. And while it’s likely Henry would receive the majority of carries if he went to the City of Brotherly Love, the pressure – and punishment – would be eased with such a talented core of offensive weapons. Oh, and it would reunite Henry with Brown, a duo that could be particularly strong alongside Hurts.