Rumors have swirled for a while as to whether the Tennessee Titans might decide to trade running back Derrick Henry, particularly now that he’s in a contract year.
Those rumblings have only intensified ahead of the Oct. 31 trade deadline with the Titans amid a rough start to the season. Who are some teams that could potentially deal for the longtime star running back?
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Why Moving Derrick Henry Makes Sense
It was always going to make at least some sense for Tennessee to explore dealing out Henry ahead of this year’s trade deadline as he plays through the final year of his contract.
The sensibility of such a move has only been amplified by the Titans’ struggles so far this year, getting out to a 2-4 start and seeing quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffer a Week 6 ankle injury that could force him to miss some time. Struggling teams tend to move on from players at the deadline as contenders pursue last-minute additions.
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Those struggles have already inclined Tennessee to move on from one of its key veteran pieces as it dealt longtime safety Kevin Byard to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Henry is coming off a strong 2022 season where he ran for 1,538 yards and 13 touchdowns and has remained productive in 2023 with 98 carries for 425 yards and three scores through six games.
Moving on from another veteran who still holds real value in Henry could be appealing to the Titans, given their lack of competitive prospects this fall and perhaps in the near future.
Best Fits for Derrick Henry Trade
The Baltimore Ravens (5-2) perhaps present the most obvious fit for Henry as a contending team that could look to add another dimension to their already potent offense led by Lamar Jackson.
Jackson has remained a lethal option with both his arm and legs this season, completing 142 of his 200 pass attempts for 1,610 yards, eight touchdowns, and three interceptions while running for a team-high 363 yards and five scores thus far in 2023. Outside of Gus Edwards (86 carries, 346 yards, and two TDs), Baltimore has not gotten much significant production from the running back position.
Adding a dynamic playmaker like Henry to pair with the likes of wide receiver Zay Flowers and tight end Mark Andrews could take the Ravens’ offense to the next level as they look to rise to Super Bowl contention.
The Cleveland Browns (4-2) are another team that could talk themselves into being close enough to contention and in desperate need of running back help, given their recent injuries at the position.
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Cleveland already expects star running back Nick Chubb to miss the remainder of the season after suffering a severe knee injury in the Week 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jerome Ford (78 carries, 364 yards, and two TDs) has filled in serviceably at the spot, but he could miss time with an injury of his own — not to mention Kareem Hunt played through an injury last week.
Henry could certainly give the Browns some quality reinforcement at the position to complement a defense that has dominated opponents aside from allowing 38 points to the Indianapolis Colts last week.
It’s perhaps a longshot, but the Cowboys (4-2) always seem to pop up in these discussions and are worth at least considering as a possibility.
Yes, Jerry Jones has said publicly that he is not planning to initiate talks with other teams before the trade deadline, and yes, Dallas already has Tony Pollard featured at the running back spot. On the other hand, Jones has also noted that he “would really extend” to improve the team, and this certainly feels like an addition that could fit the bill there.
The Cowboys’ red-zone offense has struggled this year, standing 26th in the league in red-zone efficiency while scoring touchdowns on just 39.13% of their red-zone trips. That rate marks a significant downturn from last year’s league-best rate of 71.43% and comes in the wake of running back Ezekiel Elliott and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore departing the organization.
Adding Henry could provide a significant boost to Dallas’ red-zone offense, providing another threat to score who cannot only do it himself but also open up opportunities for others, given the attention he attracts from opposing defenses.