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In an alternate universe, running backs like Derrick Henry would be among the athletes with the most impressive salaries. They are the top-tier picks, generally dominating the first couple of rounds of many drafts. And are often the ones who lead managers to success, barring injury.
Regrettably, this is not an alternate universe. Despite beliefs regarding backfield interchangeability and the continual move toward a more pass-heavy game in the modern NFL, running back salaries do not match on-field production.
This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who follows the NFL’s business. And in this article, we will look at a sample running back, Derrick Henry, and his salary and contract.
Since 2016, Henry has been an American football running back for the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL).
He first signed a four-year, $5.40 million contract. A total of $3.30 million was guaranteed, including a $2.13 million signing bonus.
Then in 2020, Henry signed a new four-year contract worth $50 million.
He helped them win two division titles and reach the playoffs four times during his six-year tenure with the Titans. He owns several franchise records and has twice appeared in the Pro Bowl. Henry’s running abilities are more critical than his catching abilities. His power helped the Titans in the late phases of a game when their opponents were tired.
For the 2019 season, he topped the NFL in rushing yards and touchdowns (tied with Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones).
Henry led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns again in 2020, becoming only the eighth player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season and only the second Tennessee Titan to do it.
He was dubbed “King Henry” for his powerful rushing game. Derrick Lamar Henry Jr was born on January 4, 1994.
Derrick Henry signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Tennessee Titans, which included a $12 million signing bonus, a $25 million guarantee, and a $12,500,000 average annual salary.
Henry’s basic salary in 2022 will be $12,000,000, with a cap hit of $15,000,000 and a dead cap value of $6,000,000.
According to calculations, that means he earns $34,247 every day and $1,427 each hour!
Contrary to the common opinion, they did not break the bank when the Tennessee Titans signed running back Derrick Henry to a four-year, $50 million contract extension.
In terms of overall value or average annual income, the deal did not re-set the market or make Henry, the highest-paid player at his position. However, it presented the team with immediate salary-cap relief and the option to sign more players for the 2020 season.
Henry received a $12 million signing bonus and will earn a base salary of $3 million this season. That brings his total 2020 salary to $15 million, seeing a step-up of $4.722 million from the one-year, non-exclusive franchise offer he signed in April.
The Titans obtained immediate relief under this year’s limit by spreading Derrick Henry’s salary cap burden over the deal ($3 million each season). Henry’s cap figure has been reduced to $6 million, $4.278 million less than the one-year, non-exclusive franchise tender cap hit.
With this deal, Henry joins a group of four running backs who have signed deals worth at least $50 million. Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffery, and Le’Veon Bell have signed bigger contracts of $90 million, $64,063,412, and $52.5 million, respectively.
Henry is one of five running backs whose contracts average more than $10 million a season, and with $25.5 million guaranteed, he is one of seven running backs whose current contracts guarantee at least $25 million.
Additionally, Henry’s base wage rises throughout the duration of the contract. In 2021, he was expected to make $10.5 million, $12 million in 2022, and $12.5 million in 2023. This is exceptional among the largest contracts that general manager Jon Robinson has negotiated.
And also, Henry’s 2021 salary was as sure as the sun rising. That fact, combined with the signing bonus, makes it basically impossible for the Titans to cut Henry for the next two years. After that, though, the opportunity to reevaluate things increases noticeably.
If the Titans released Henry in the 2021 season, it would cost them $6 million in dead money but would create $9 million in cap savings. Those numbers go to $3 million and $12.5 million respectively the following year. So, if Henry gets hurt or his production unexpectedly tanks, the Titans won’t have to ride the deal to the finish.
Off the field, Henry is also a popular character. Derrick Henry has amassed a sizable fortune to complement his basic salary through endorsement partnerships with Old Spice, Pepsi, Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salts, and Champ Sports. He’s also a Nike endorser and has appeared in video games and television ads.
Of course, people will debate whether the deal was good for the Titans or Henry. The fact is, it is already done regardless of who wins these debates.
Derrick Henry got a good deal and an impressive salary. He had worked hard to prove his mettle until the injury, and he was worth every dollar.