It appears that star running back Derrick Henry will play under the franchise tag tender this year for the Tennessee Titans.
A report by Adam Schefter of ESPN on Tuesday indicated that the Titans and Henry are not likely to come to an agreement on a long-term deal by Wednesday’s 3 p.m. CT deadline. That report corroborates a report from TitanInsider.com last week that Henry and the Titans were not close to reaching a deal on an extension, though the sides would keep the lines of communication open up until the deadline.
Titans and Derrick Henry are not expected to reach a long-term deal by Wednesday deadline for franchise players, per source. Henry is scheduled to make $10.27M this season and become a free agent in off-season.
Any franchise deals by Wednesday will be an exception, not the rule.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 14, 2020
If Henry plays on the franchise tender, which he has already signed, he would make $10.278 million guaranteed for 2020.
There are a number of factors that likely played into the Titans and Henry not coming to terms on a multi-year agreement. With the Covid-19 pandemic likely have an effect on the NFL season, there is the chance that stadiums could be empty or at least far less than capacity for games this season, depriving teams of its game-day receipts. That effect could cause the salary cap for 2021 go be lower than the current salary cap, thus affecting negotiations on long-term deals.
Henry, who won the rushing title with 1,540 yards and led the Titans to two victories in the AFC playoffs, is coming off the best season of his career.
By playing under the franchise tag for this season, the Titans and Henry could still negotiate a long-term deal next season and beyond if they wish to.
The Titans could also apply the franchise tag to their star running back again in 2021, as that number would rise to about $12.3 million guaranteed salary for Henry.
Of the 15 players who were franchised this off-season by their respective clubs, only Kansas City’s Chris Jones has reportedly agreed on a long-term extension.