King Henry’s reign in Nashville appears to be nearing its end.
Titans running back Derrick Henry was shopped around during the NFL Combine, according to Michael Silver of Bally Sports, fueling rumors that he could be dealt ahead of the draft.
At 29 years old, Henry still remains at the top of his game. He rushed for 1,538 yards in 2022, the second-highest total in the league. He also led the league with 349 carries, relishing in his role as lead back.
While it appears Henry has plenty left to offer, the reality is he’s nearing 30 — an age that can prove catastrophic for tailbacks’ careers. Memories of his injury-riddled 2021 campaign are still fresh and could hinder his trade value.
In all, Henry is still perhaps the league’s best back. But as an older running back with a $16 million cap hit next year, it certainly presents a risk. Additionally, Henry is a bruiser. That helps a great many teams across the league.
However, he doesn’t offer the versatility of a Christian McCaffrey, another oft-injured star who netted four picks when Carolina dealt him to San Francisco last year. Given his age profile, style of play and general reputation around the league, it seems unlikely that Henry could bring a return that would exceed CMC’s.
SN MOCK DRAFT: Anthony Richardson, Bijan Robinson biggest risers; Jalen Carter slips after Combine
Nevertheless, it seems Tennessee is all-in on some sort of rebuild. Henry’s departure would represent the second high-profile star parting ways with the Titans in as many years, following in the footsteps of A.J. Brown.
It seems to be a question of when, not if, Tennessee deals its All-Pro. But which teams could benefit from his acquisition? In short, a lot. Here’s a rundown of some of the sides that could get their hands on the King.
Derrick Henry landing spots
Led by Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, the Bills have one of the best offenses in football. As Buffalo’s postseason defeat to the Bengals proved, though, that offense could always use a little more firepower, especially when the frigid conditions of January start descending at Highmark.
In that case, who better to land than Henry? He’s a dominant back who has showcased his talent time and time against the league’s best defenses. He also could use a reduction in his workload, something Buffalo’s explosive passing game would almost certainly afford him. The thought of Henry and Allen working in tandem on RPOs is also alluring; you can’t imagine there being much scarier tandems strolling down in open field than those two.
Oh, and Henry worked out with Bills linebacker Von Miller this offseason. Did someone say recruiting pitch?
Von Miller with Derrick Henry on his IG story “@KingHenry_2 👀 🦬 “
🤔🤔 #Bills pic.twitter.com/bslW1vG62G
— Buffalo Bills Daily (@dailybills_) February 24, 2023
From one AFC East rival to another. The Dolphins are building something special in South Beach, centering their attack around the elite playmaking ability of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Tua Tagovailoa went up a level after Hill’s arrival, building a strong connection with the All-Pro wideout. With that being said, uncertainty about Tagovailoa’s health, coupled with less-than-ideal deep arm skills, limits Miami’s flexibility going forward. Acquiring Henry could go a long way in opening the field up for Hill, Waddle and Mike Gesicki, as his penchant for big gains would almost certainly draw the defense in more times than not. Perhaps a run for the AFC East crown could be on the horizon?
MORE: How Derek Carr signing with Saints impacts NFL offseason QB market
New England Patriots
Mac Jones’ future is shrouded in mystery. However, assuming New England retains his services — or acquires someone of a similar level — the Pats might be in the running for Henry. New England showed a willingness to split carries between Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris before Harris’ injury. Stevenson showed himself to be a capable dual threat out of the backfield, racking up the yards in the air and on the ground. Henry, meanwhile, is a class above Harris, who fell out of the rotation as Stevenson began to emerge. Pairing a talented back like Henry with a versatile threat like Stevenson could pay major dividends for Bill Belichick’s squad, particularly with a passing game that fails to inspire a whole lot of confidence.
Kansas City Chiefs
The rich (may) get richer. Kansas City released Clyde Edwards-Helaire, putting its faith in 2022 seventh-round selection Isaiah Pacheco. Pacheco is skilled, but Henry is Henry. Having both tailbacks operate in an Andy Reid offense already teeming with weapons could be especially alluring, as Patrick Mahomes’ dominance could open up space and time for both Pacheco and Henry. The money could be a challenge, especially as Henry would like cede some carries to the youthful Pacheco. But improvement always costs a little green. And bringing in Henry would help Kansas City complete what is already a fairly loaded offense.
MORE: Who were the winners and losers of the 2023 NFL Combine?
Much like Kansas City, Philly finds itself in excellent position heading into 2023. The offensive line is stout, the passing game silky. Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders earned Pro Bowl honors with impressive showcases last year. Now, imagine adding Henry to the mix. Sanders doesn’t play every down; the likes of Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott have all seen decent workloads with the talented tailback over the years. And although it seems likely that Henry would receive the majority of the carries if he were to head to the City of Brotherly Love, the pressure — and punishment — would be reduced with such a talented core of offensive weapons. Oh, and it would reunite Henry with Brown, a duo that could be especially potent alongside Hurts.