Derrick Henry Free Agency Watch | Landing Spots and Free Agency Outlook

by Matt Babich · Contracts & Free Agency
Derrick Henry free agent

PlayerProfiler is home to the very best dynasty rankings and tools in the industry. Our Dynasty Deluxe package includes complete Dynasty Rankings, Rookie Rankings, Trade Analyzer, Draft Planner, Mock Drafts, and more. Check it outThis is PlayerProfiler’s 2024 Free Agency Preview! This year, we’ll be providing you with player-by-player insights as we approach the free agency period opening March 13th. In the last edition, we broke down the free agency outlook for Tony Pollard. We’ll continue this series by examining the potential landing spots and outlook for free agent Titans running back Derrick Henry.

2023 Review

All good things must come to an end. After his disappointing 2023 campaign, it appears the reign of King Henry has come to an end. The 30-year-old back posted career lows in yards per carry and Juke Rate. He also cashed in five-year lows in total opportunities and fantasy points per game. His 12 total touchdowns salvaged his season, accounting for 30-percent of his fantasy production.

However, many signals indicated there’s still juice in Henry’s tank. To start, Henry (at 30 years old) led all running backs in rushing attempts and finished No. 2 in rushing yards. That’s no small feat. Further, the veteran displayed explosiveness to the tune of a 5.7-percent (No. 8) Breakaway Run Rate. 

No matter your opinion on Henry’s outlook going forward, it’s clear the Titans’ porous offensive line and anemic offense did not aid Henry’s production. There are certainly suitors on the open market that are better suited to accent Henry’s talents – even at his age – and bring King Henry back to a desirable fantasy asset.

Most Likely Landing Spots

Baltimore Ravens

J.K. Dobbins, who has fought through an ACL tear and an achilles tear in consecutive seasons dating back to 2021, is set to hit free agency. So is Gus Edwards, the Ravens’ reliable No. 2 back. Keaton Mitchell will also be sidelined for the foreseeable future. As a result, the Ravens need to rethink the structure of their running back room. Edwards performed admirably in relief of Dobbins.

However, the Ravens could sign Henry to a very similar contract as Edwards’. That would allow them to pair Dobbins and Henry together, giving Dobbins a chance to carry less of the load when healthy.

Further, the team will gain some electricity back into the lineup when Mitchell returns. We’ve seen the front office’s faith in their current running back room time and time again. Staying faithful to the two truly electric and dynamic backs in their backfield make sense. They can supplement those talents by adding in one of the league’s most powerful backs. The Ravens are currently the betting favorite to sign Henry.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys clearly missed Ezekiel Elliott last season. When Tony Pollard was asked to run the in-between-the-tackles and short-yardage runs, it was clear why the Eliiott-Pollard tandem worked so well. The Cowboys also struggled to run the ball successfully in goal-to-go situations. Given Henry still has more juice than Elliott, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Cowboys bring the Big Dog into the mix. 

The real question is, what happens after the Cowboys bring in Henry? Do they retain Pollard to go back to a certified one-two punch? Do they let Pollard walk and pair Henry with Rico Dowdle? Maybe they do a little dirty work and try to draft another scat-back-plus. No matter how you slice it, the Cowboys could have a nasty running back room while saving cap room if they decide to sign Henry. Currently, the Cowboys are the third highest odds to land Henry.

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia is a less glamorous destination, but it’s one that would make both financial and football sense for this team. The Eagles struggled to run the ball consistently last season, with the combo of D’Andre Swift and Kenneth Gainwell in the backfield. Both backs are worth their salt in the zone run scheme, but lack a power element, where the team usually uses Jalen Hurts.

Henry can fill that gap while letting the Eagles spend valuable money elsewhere. Swift is going to look for a multi-year deal. Opting to sign a back like Henry will not only fill a true need, but will also save money long-term doing so. Why lock up multiple years worth of cap space retaining Swift when you can sign Henry to a short-term deal? With $20 million in cap space, the team would have plenty of cash available to sign Henry and sign other positions of need to longer-term deals.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are looking to build a powerhouse around C.J. Stroud. As their championship window opens, they’ll look to up-level the running back room. While Devin Singletary fared well in his stint as a Texan, he was never the long-term solution. Neither is Henry, but he’s certainly an upgrade at the position. The Texans can sign Henry for not much more than they were already paying Singletary. Sitting pretty in cap space, money won’t be an issue.

The smart move would be for the Texans to sign Henry on a cheap veteran deal, and draft a dual threat back in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft. Bucky Irving out of Oregon would be a phenomenal pairing and would give this offense an invigorated sense of explosiveness and dynamism.

Predicted Landing Spot

Call me basic, but I’m going to pick the odds-on favorite, the Baltimore Ravens, to sign Henry. Rumors are flying that the team wants to sign a star running back in free agency. However, this team generally shows far too much intelligence to pay top-dollar for the Saquon Barkley’s of the world. Their forward-thinking system and effective run blocking will mesh perfectly with Henry.

He still has some juice in the tank, and he’s not going to want to waste it on a non-contender. The Ravens are pushing for their Super Bowl title, and they’ll need a sturdy run game to achieve it. King Henry provides that backbone.

Read Matt Babich’s breakdown of the free agent outlook for Austin Ekeler here: Austin Ekeler Free Agency Watch | Landing Spots and Free Agency Outlook