A Hitch In A Potential New Derrick Henry Titans' Contract

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Plenty of fans are writing contracts for Derrick Henry that would keep him with the Titans for at least a ninth year and perhaps a 10th.

He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time when contracts expire and the new league year starts on March 13.

Derrick Henry
  Derrick Henry/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

Spotrac projects a one-year, $4.39 million contract, which is the most reasonable thing I’ve seen.

AtoZ recently sketched out a two-year, $20 million deal with $12 million guaranteed and a 2024 $5 million cap hit, which is way too much.

A Henry contract with the Titans isn’t so plain and simple. There is a hitch.

When the Titans gave Henry more up-front money at the start of the 2022 season, the jiggled contract added voidable years in 2024 and 2025. That got him $2 million extra that season, but it left $4.73 million in voidable years in 2024 and 2025.

No matter what happens with Henry, that money now accelerates into the 2024 cap when the 2024 and 2025 years void, likely in February but certainly before March 13.

So any new Henry deal with the Titans doesn’t start at zero. It starts at $4.73 million.

Kuharsky megaphoneIf the Titans got Henry on the one-year, $4.39 million contract Spotrac projects, it would actually be a $9.12 million contract. If somehow Henry got the super-high AtoZ projection, it would actually be a two-year, $24.74 million deal that would come with a $9.73 million 2024 cap hit.

Now, overthecap.com says the Titans have $62 million in effective cap space -- space after accounting for 51 players and a draft class. An additional $4.73 million would not be a cap-killer by any means, but it would certainly be a factor when it comes to the Titans' valuation of Henry.

Also affecting Henry’s value will be a loaded free-agent running back class that is also scheduled to include Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Austin Ekeler, D’Andre Swift, Devin Singletary, James Connor, Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott.

All of those backs are at least one year younger than Henry and all of them except for Elliott have at least 725 fewer carries than he does.

The holdover money is something to consider as a factor when thinking about a new Henry deal. 

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