Titans use franchise tag on NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry

Tennessee Titans

El running back Derrick Henry (22) de los Titans de Tennesse deja atrás al safety Chuck Clark (36) de los Ravens de Baltimore en el partido de la ronda divisional de los playoffs de la NFL, el sábado 11 de enero de 2020. (AP Foto/Julio Cortez)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have tagged Derrick Henry as their franchise player, making sure they keep the NFL rushing leader around for at least this season.

The Titans on Monday used the non-exclusive franchise tag on Henry. That means Henry still can receive offers from other teams, with the Titans able to match or receive two first-round draft picks. The franchise tag for a running back is estimated to cost $12.3 million according to Overthecap.com.

The move comes a day after the franchise agreed to a four-year, $118 million deal with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, keeping the Titans’ top offensive players together.

Henry led the NFL with 1,540 yards rushing on 303 attempts for a 4.8-yard average. He also tied for the league lead with 16 touchdown runs during the regular season with Aaron Jones of Green Bay. He earned his first Pro Bowl appearance.

But the 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry most showed his value as he ran for at least 100 yards seven times over the final six weeks of the regular season and in three playoff games. Henry became the first to rush for at least 180 yards in three straight games over the regular season or postseason.

He currently ranks third in NFL history averaging 126 yards rushing in the postseason.

This is the first chance for Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, at a big contract. He was the Titans’ third pick in the second round at No. 45 overall in 2016, and he is coming off his best season yet.

This is the first time the Titans have used the franchise tag since 2012, when they tagged safety Michael Griffin before agreeing to a five-year contract in June. Before that, tight end Bo Scaife was tagged in 2009 after defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth played under the tag in 2008. The then-Oilers also used the franchise tag on safety Blaine Bishop in 1997.

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