Derrick Henry Career Earnings, Richest RB Contracts After Titans RB’s New Deal

Derrick Henry Career Earnings, Richest RB Contracts After Titans RB’s New Deal

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry answers questions before an NFL football practice Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans are scheduled to face the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The Tennessee Titans and running back Derrick Henry agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract Wednesday that carried $25.5 million in guarantees. 

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported terms of the deal, which came together just ahead of the deadline for franchised players to sign long-term contracts.

Henry would have made $10.3 million in 2020. The deal will guarantee him slightly more money than the Titans franchising him the next two seasons. Full structural details have not been made available.

Henry made $4.5 million over the course of his rookie contract, meaning his total guaranteed haul will reach the $30 million mark. He could reach up to $54.5 million if he plays out the full term of the deal and satisfies all escalators and bonuses in the deal.

The new deal will rank fourth among running backs in terms of total value and sixth in guarantees. Here is a current breakdown of top running back contracts:

1. Ezekiel Elliott ($90 million, $50.1 million guaranteed)
2. Christian McCaffrey ($64.1 million, $36.4 million guaranteed)
3. Le’Veon Bell ($52.5 million, $35 million guaranteed)
4. Derrick Henry ($50 million, $25.5 million guaranteed)
5. David Johnson ($39 million, $31.9 million guaranteed)
6. Saquon Barkley ($31.2 million, $31.2 million guaranteed)

Henry was the NFL’s leading rusher last season with 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns, putting the team on his back to carry them to the AFC Championship Game. If the Titans were planning on franchising Henry next season as well, there’s no harm no foul here.

But there has rarely been much success in recent years for teams that hand large contracts to running backs. The position is flush with cheap talent, and Henry does not give the Titans anything as a pass-catcher. It’s good that Henry is getting paid because the contractual structure of the NFL arguably hurts that position more than any other.

That said, the jury’s still out on whether this is a winning move in the macro sense. 

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