Agent’s Take: Derrick Henry’s historic workload and what it means shifting forward for Titans’ well-known particular person

The Titans seem intent on getting their money’s worth from working once more Derrick Henry, who signed a four-year, $50 million contract (with an additional $1 million in incentives) last yr. The quantity has been turned up on Henry’s already heavy workload. In 2020, Henry turned the NFL’s eighth participant to rush for at least 2,000 yards in a season, rumbling for 2,027 on 378 carries — tied for Nineteenth-most for a season.

The 2020 NFL Offensive Participant of the 12 months merely leads the league with 142 carries and 640 dashing yards by the use of 5 video video games this season. Saints working once more Alvin Kamara, who’s second throughout the NFL, has 48 fewer carries. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt variety arguably the league’s most interesting dashing tandem with the Browns. They’ve merely three additional carries blended at 145 than Henry does this season.

Solely O.J Simpson has additional dashing makes an try by the use of the first 5 video video games of a season. Simpson had 152 carries with the Funds in 1975. No particular person has ever had additional touches (blended dashing makes an try and receptions) than Henry’s 156 throughout the first 5 video video games.

As a result of addition of a seventeenth regular-season recreation, Henry is on monitor to obliterate the NFL single-season report for dashing makes an try that Larry Johnson set with the Chiefs in 2006 when he had 416 carries. Henry’s current tempo initiatives to an eye-popping 483 dashing makes an try. At 28.4 carries each contest, Johnson’s report would fall throughout the fifteenth recreation of the season.

Inside the course of, Henry would break Eric Dickerson’s report of two,105 dashing yards in a season, which he set in 1984 with the Rams and Chris Johnson’s season mark of two,509 yards from scrimmage (blended dashing and receiving yards) established in 2009 whereas having fun with for the Titans. Henry is on tempo for 2,176 dashing yards and a few,601 yards from scrimmage. His 530 touches would even be 42 higher than James Wilder’s report of 492, which received right here with the Buccaneers in 1984.

Henry sustaining his giant workload seems unfathomable considering his 2020 utilization, the extra recreation and the NFL an increasing number of turning into go blissful over the past 10 years. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel addressed Henry’s extreme utilization on Monday. “We merely ought to try to be pretty much as good as we are going to with restoration and the best way it is going throughout the recreation and the best way he feels,” said Vrabel. “Then there’s a fantastic line there in determining what he needs and the affect he has all via the course of the game.”

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Ideally, Henry’s utilization cost will mirror what occurred with Simpson in 1975. He went from 30.4 carries per recreation over the first 5 contests to averaging 19.7 for the remaining 9 video video games throughout the season.

That wasn’t the case for the two-time defending dashing champion in 2019 and 2020.

Henry’s workload peaked over the past quarter of the season. Inside the first three-quarters of these two years, Henry averaged 21 carries per recreation. The everyday jumped to 25.4 dashing makes an try throughout the closing 4 video video games of the two seasons.

Neatest factor for Henry might be the Titans, who’re the lone group throughout the AFC South with a profitable report at 3-2, clinching the division early. The Colts, who’re 1-4, are the one group to pose a sensible threat to the Titans repeating as AFC South champions.

If these two seasons are any indication, Henry attending to 400 carries seems inevitable supplied he stays healthful. Henry has been terribly sturdy when profitable his dashing titles. His solely missed recreation was in Week 16 of the 2019 season with a hamstring hurt.

Henry might be part of unusual agency with a 400-carry season. It’s solely been carried out 5 events in NFL historic previous. The chart below summarizes the careers of the players sooner than and after hitting the 400-carry mark.


1,000-yd seasons


1,000-yd seasons


12 months




Sooner than

Sooner than



Larry Johnson









Jamal Anderson









James Wilder









Eric Dickerson









Eddie George

















Derrick Henry









Henry is within the similar age fluctuate as the other working backs after they’d the most important workload of their careers. He is on the elevated end of occupation mileage when the season occurred.

None of these guys are small working backs. At 247 kilos, Henry is the heaviest of the bunch. His measurement may make him increased outfitted to take care of the injury and tear gathered having fun with working once more.

The simplest-case scenario for the Titans, since Henry is beneath contract by the use of the 2023 season with $12 million and $12.5 million salaries in 2022 and 2023, might be for him to be an outlier like Eric Dickerson. Dickerson was second throughout the NFL in dashing all through a strike-shortened 1987 season. He gained his last dashing title in 1988, the second yr after his heaviest workload. Dickerson’s closing 1,000-yard season was the following yr in 1989.

Henry quickly declining in the end if his historic utilization continues for the rest of this season wouldn’t be gorgeous since working backs have a shorter shelf life than totally different positions.

He’ll potential ought to present to be superhuman to get a contract of any consequence after his current deal expires.

It’s nonetheless early nonetheless Henry is averaging practically a yard a lot much less per dashing do this season at 4.5 than last yr when his 5.4 frequent was fourth throughout the NFL amongst working backs. As a result of the dashing champion in 2019 and 2020, Henry was third amongst working backs with 5.2 yards per carry (minimal 200 dashing makes an try) all through this span.

Henry coping with stacked defensive fronts additional usually this season is perhaps a contributing difficulty. In line with the NFL’s Subsequent Gen Stats, 41.55 % of Henry’s carries are with eight or additional defenders throughout the discipline. It was 27.78 % last season and 35.64 % in 2019.

However, Henry’s shouldn’t be faring as correctly in some superior working once more metrics this season as sooner than. For example, Henry is averaging a reasonably pedestrian (by his earlier necessities) 0.15 rush yards over anticipated per attempt, based mostly on Subsequent Gen Stats. He led the NFL in 2019 with 1.06 dashing yards over anticipated per try to improved last yr to 1.11 yards whereas ranking fifth.

Nonetheless, Henry is on monitor to the defy the possibilities by turning into the first participant who had a 2,000-yard dashing season to hit the 1,500-yard mark throughout the following yr. Barry Sanders has most likely essentially the most with 1,491 dashing yards in 1998 sooner than he abruptly retired after the season at 30. Whether or not or not Henry is the ultimate phrase anomaly at working once more stays to be seen.

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