Derrick Henry Seemingly Shoots His Shot at Dolphins

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Did Derrick Henry use his Bussin’ With The Boys podcast interview to flirt with the Miami Dolphins?

 

 

Derrick Henry’s an impending free agent. The 30-year-old running back said his goodbyes to the Tennessee Titans fanbase at the end of the final regular season game, which hints that he’s shopping for a new team.

And he’s specifically looking for one that he could help win a Super Bowl.

The four-time Pro Bowl selection recently revealed that he wished the Miami Dolphins had drafted him during his Bussin’ With the Boys podcast Interview.

“I wanted to go to Miami,” Henry, a Jacksonville native, told the podcast hosted by his former Titans offensive lineman Taylor Lewan when asked about the draft process in 2016. “I wanted to play for the Dolphins. That’s where I wanted to go. That’s where I thought I was going. I thought possibly I was gonna go to the Panthers. I thought a slim chance I was gonna come to the Cowboys, but I probably figured they’d take Zeke [Elliott] when they did.”
Henry was taken in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Titans with the 45h overall pick. The Dolphins selected Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard with the 38th pick, and then followed that selection by drafting Henry’s Alabama teammate, tailback Kenyan Drake, with the 73rd pick in the third round.
While Drake had some productive seasons in Miami, Henry just rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the fifth season in his eight-year career.

Henry’s still a productive back
Henry gained 1,167 rushing yards and scored 12 touchdowns on 280 carries this past season, and there’s plenty of evidence that the power back has plenty left in the tank.

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While Henry isn’t slamming the door shut on staying in Nashville, he believes he and the Titans are likely running in different directions.
“I’m not saying it’s closed,” said Henry in the interview, which was taped on Jan. 9. “But I just feel like they’re going in a different direction. I feel like [Vrabel’s firing] definitely solidified that. And that’s OK. That happens. That’s the nature of the business. We want something to last forever. Nothing does, especially in this business. I’ll always be a Titan, even if I don’t come back.

“At the end of the day, I want to win the Super Bowl,” Henry continued. “Wherever that is that gives me the best chance, that’s what I want to do. I don’t have no bad blood or feel no type of way if I’m not back. It’s just what was supposed to happen. The story is already written, we’re all just living it.”
How much does Henry have left?
Henry reached a top speed of 21.68 mph on his 69-yard run, tied for the seventh-fastest speed by a ball carrier in 2023, and Henry’s fastest play since Week 6, 2021 (career-high 21.80 mph).

He clearly had interest in the Dolphins back in the draft process, so it’s safe to wonder if he’s the type of back that can help the Dolphins chance the team’s finesse reputation?
While the Dolphins had the franchise’s most efficient rushing attack since 2002 this season, gaining 2,308 yards and 456 carries, and averaging a NFL leading 5.1 yards per attempt, Miami struggled converting on short yardage plays, and ranked 18th when it came to goal-to-go situations on offense.

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It is possible that a powerful back like Henry would complement Miami’s backfield, which featured Raheem Mostert and rookie sensation De’Von Achane, but at what cost?

Best tailbacks in free agency
Henry, who earned $12.5 million last season, joins Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs, Dallas’ Tony Pollard, New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley, Philadelphia’s De’Andre Swift, and Los Angeles Chargers tailback Austin Ekeler as the top veteran running backs available in free agency, which begins on March 11, which is the date teams are allowed to negotiate with free agents for the start of the league year on March 13.

So any team in need of a tailback upgrade will have plenty of options.

Problem is, the Dolphins are $41 million over the NFL’s projected salary cap, and need to release players, and restructure contracts simply to get back to baseline, reducing the cap deficit before the March 13 deadline.

That doesn’t even account for the cap space needed to sign the team’s own free agents – players like defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who will likely be given a franchise tag that guarantees him $19 million, and offensive linemen Robert Hunt and Connor Williams, among others – and add newcomers like Henry, players who could strengthen areas where the team could use some help.
Henry, who has averaged 253 rushing attempts the past eight seasons, has been the main catalyst for the Titans success the past five seasons. He’s scored 93 touchdowns in his eight seasons. However, there’s concern about the fact he’s handled 2,030 career carries, and will likely be on the decline.

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