The Titans and running back Derrick Henry have six days to work out a long-term deal, or they won’t be able to do one until after the 2020 regular season. Titans coach Mike Vrabel is preaching patience as the process unfolds.
“Derrick signed his franchise tender, he’s under contract,” Vrabel said Thursday on NFL Network. “I know that [G.M.] Jon [Robinson] and [V.P. of football administration] Vin Marino have been in contact with his reps. Having been involved with the NFL for a lot of years, getting deals done is about being patient, hopefully keeping them private and confidential. So I’m going to try to respect that, and understand that we love Derrick and he understands how important he is to our football team. Again, his leadership that grew last year, I’m looking forward, I know our team is looking for more of that this year.”
Henry previously signed the one-year franchise tender, and he’ll earn $10.278 million in fully-guaranteed pay this season.
Robinson has acknowledged that significant financial uncertainty for 2020, which creates cap uncertainty for 2021, makes it harder to sign players to extension.
For Henry, if he plays this year like he did last year, the Titans would have to give him a 20-percent raise for 2021 in order to tag him again, regardless of whether the cap goes up or down or stays the same. That’s $12.33 million.
From the player’s perspective, the question becomes whether the Titans offer enough to get him to trade in the bird in the hand. So what will it take to give up $10.278 million plus either $12.33 million next year or a shot at the open market? That’s what Henry will have to decide as the Titans move toward their bottom-line position between now and next Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. ET.