Alabama in the Pros

Former NFL All-Pro receiver upset that Titans’ RB, Derrick Henry does not have a new deal

Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

The new year for the National Football League starts next week, and one former player has started voicing his opinion on how the contracts are being done. 

Despite stabilizing the Tennessee Titans at quarterback, Ryan Tannehill attempted just 29 passes and totaled 160 yards combined in AFC playoff victories over the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. His struggles in the passing game were hidden by scintillating performances from Derrick Henry at running back. The former Alabama standout and 2015 Heisman winner pounded two of the best NFL defenses for 180-plus yards rushing.

He averaged over five yards per rush against both teams, recording at least 30 carries on the road to win both matchups.  

RELATED: After locking up QB Ryan Tannehill will the Titans do the same for Derrick Henry?

Henry was not only the league’s rushing champion (1,540 yards), he guided the franchise to the playoffs and had it one game shy of playing for a Super Bowl. The 6-foot-3, 247-pounder accounted for 16 touchdowns and had eight 100-yard rushing games. He got stronger as the season went on in 2019, which allowed for Mike Vrabel to put more on him.  

According to Ian Rapoport, a national insider for NFL Network, Tannehill and the Titans agreed on a four-year contract worth $118 million.

The new deal pays him $91 million in total guarantees, while he pockets $62 million fully guaranteed.  

Regardless of Tannehill’s success, the Titans are in a tough spot. 

It can either pay Henry and franchise tag Jack Conklin (offensive lineman) or it pays the offensive lineman and tags Henry. Whatever the move ends up being, Roddy White is not happy about Tannehill getting a new deal before Henry.

A former wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, White played from 2005-15. He had six 1,000-yard seasons, was selected to four Pro Bowls and made first-team All-Pro in 2010.

White makes a valid point, especially when one sees how the Titans responded to Henry’s play.

Should he not accept the tag, Henry will be able to test the free agency market. He had the best year of any player at his position last season, and now it’s time for him to receive his pay day.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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