A contract extension for Derrick Henry came down to the final hours before he would have been locked into playing on the franchise tender.
But the Tennessee Titans star running back said Thursday he had “no doubts” that a deal – a four-year, $50 million extension – would get done.
“I didn’t have any doubts at all. I just knew it was a matter of time,” Henry said Thursday, a day after agreeing to the contract. “We were both working, both communicating and it was just a matter of us finding common ground where we were both happy. I think we both worked toward that.”
Henry admitted that unsettledness of the Covid-19 situation and its potential effect on the NFL season made getting a long-term extension done now a priority for him.
“It’s a crazy time right now. There’s a lot of uncertainty. Nobody knows what’s gonna happen two months from now, three months from now or a year from now,” Henry said. “Not knowing what’s going to happen because anything can happen in a matter of time. As far as the deal, for me and with the Titans, my agent (Jimmy Sexton) and I, my team, the deal made sense right now to go ahead and lock up and get it done.”
Henry said he and the Titans began to accelerate talks this week and just kept working through the deal to get it completed by the deadline.
Henry signing the deal was a good-faith gesture by the Titans and it keeps the player who has become the “face of the franchise,” after winning the rushing title last year under contract for longer than just the one-year franchise tender.
“I’ve always expressed my love for the organization and I feel like they did that as well. The contract stuff is not always easy, and it took us a while to make progress and come to an agreement, but we’re both happy, and that’s all that matters,” Henry said.
Henry gets a reported $25.5 million in guaranteed money, including a $12 million signing bonus that will be spread out over the life of the contract. Those moves drop Henry’s cap number from the $10.278 million franchise tender he signed in April down to $6 million for 2020. That savings could help the Titans pursue more help, including perhaps free agent defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney, who remains on the open market with the Titans admitting interest in pursuing him.
Henry said he would be all for that, if the Titans are serious in their pursuit of the former Texans and Seahawks star.
“I’ve heard things,” Henry said. “I’ve played against Jadeveon when he was in Houston, and he’s a great player. He’s played at a high level for a while. If he wants to come to Tennessee, we’d definitely welcome him with open arms.”