The Running Back Paradigm

I was recently sitting at my office, and throughout the day I keep Google News open, and as I was between emails I found CBS Sports most recent 3-Round Mock Draft.

“With the 29th pick the Tennessee Titans select D’Andre Swift, Running Back, University of Georgia.”

6 weeks ago, I would’ve looked at this and said, “Absolutely not. We have to resign Derrick Henry. However, a lot has changed for me since then, and it all started here with this video of Derrick Henry on The Rich Eisen Show:

When this video hit the interweb, the majority of Titans fans responded with their sentiments and goodbyes but most came to the same conclusion and said, “There is no way he’s getting Zeke money.” Derrick Henry has since clarified what he meant on a comment via his Instagram:

Henry

However, I have come to the point that I believe the Titans do not have to have Derrick Henry to have the same success going forward. Let me explain why I have come to this point in my thinking.

Since Derrick Henry came into the NFL, the Titans leading rushers have been DeMarco Murray in 2016 (1,278 yards), Derrick Henry in 2017 (744 yards), Derrick Henry in 2018 (1,059 yards), and of course Derrick Henry in 2019 (1,540 yards). For the last two seasons the Titans have had Dion Lewis to play second fiddle to Derrick Henry, which most – if not all – Titans fans would agree that his days as a Titan should soon be over. Most Titans fans are in this type of Running Back Paradigm that while, yes, it’s been fun to watch Derrick Henry stiff arm full grown men to the ground, this doesn’t mean the Titans have to break the bank to keep him around. When the only contrast that we’ve seen is from a fading 29 year old running back that doesn’t justify the idea that “King Henry has to stay in Tennessee – pay him whatever!” Frankly, and yet again this is the part where Titans fans can get their lettuce and tomatoes ready to chuck at me, but a Rookie Running Back, who is significantly cheaper, can have some of the same success with the Titans Offensive Line, and dare I say it, but do it better!


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In this day and age of the NFL, to think of paying a Running Back an average of $13.8 Million a year is a bold idea. But then to think on top of that, this same Running Back comes off the field on 3rd Downs and who also had a measly 206 yards Receiving; it’s near the point of comical. Yes, I get it, not everyone can do what Christian McCaffrey can do, who currently has a Market Value of $18 Million annually, but the fact is overpaying for a Running Back hasn’t fared well for the teams who have recently paid big money for an RB1:

  1. Todd Gurley – $17,250,000 in 2020 (Missed Playoffs in 2019)

  2. Le’Veon Bell – $15,468,750 in 2020 (Missed Playoffs in 2019)

  3. David Johnson – $14,156,250 in 2020 (Missed Playoffs in 2019)

  4. Ezekiel Elliott – $10,900,000 in 2020 (Missed Playoffs in 2019)

  5. Devonta Freeman – $9,500,000 in 2020 (Missed Playoffs in 2019)

  6. Leonard Fournette – $8,638,907 in 2020 (Missed Playoffs in 2019)*

* I only added this cause, frankly, screw the Jaguars.

In closing, I will leave you with a Tweet that was put out the day after the Super Bowl, and it honestly shocked me. For those holding out hope for the Titans to resign Derrick Henry please look away.

All joking aside, it has been said on numerous occasions that “Jon Robinson does not over pay for players.” We all want the same Titans team back in 2020, cause we honestly are desperate to stay at the top after so many years at the bottom. However, the high of coming off an AFC Championship run doesn’t require us to act in desperation, but to allow our GM, Jon Robinson, to do what he’s done since he arrive in Nashville, and that’s make good sound financial decisions that will yield the best product on the field.

As always Titans fans, continue to rock that two-tone blue and Titan Up!

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3 thoughts on “The Running Back Paradigm

  1. Dustin, thanks for commenting! I understand your reluctance, and I agree with the it for the most part. However, I believe that Tannehill opened up the run for Henry as much as Henry opened up the pass for Tannehill. Would I love for both Tannehill and Henry to be back? Absolutely, but in this day and age in the NFL, it doesn’t look to be in the cards for the Titans to keep Henry long term with the pay range he’s expected to be in.

    Again thanks for commenting and Titan Up!

    Like

  2. I cannot get behind this. I do not believe, if what he says in interviews is true, that he will hold out for more money or leave. Outside of that, going off what you said about us titans fans wanting to continue this run on the top in 2020, I for one am not too keen on taking the risk that a college back out of the draft will do good. On top of that, tannehill is no guarantee nor is it definite that without henry, if a rookie back can’t replicate success, he can get us to the big dance through the air. Maybe if I was more confident in our passing offense (to be clear, I love tannehill and do think hes good, but in conjunction with a strong run game, not in place of) I could get behind this, but I don’t think its there. Plus, mock drafts are nothing to go off of, if we miss out on a good back in the draft then what, we’re without henry and all the pressure falls on tannehill to get the job done, which i don’t find fair to tannehill either. I do not see the same success replicated without him. Nit because he is our only weapon, but because he alleviates pressure off our other options on offense, creating more chances in those areas.

    Liked by 1 person

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