Derrick Henry heading to Ravens is another sign that running backs are valued -- at the right price (2024)

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Backfields are going to look a whole lot different in the NFL next season after a run on free agent quarterbacks and running backs during the league’s two-day legal tampering period.

After QBs ruled Day 1, running backs continued to make strides in free agency Tuesday with four-time Pro Bowler Derrick Henry agreeing to a two-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens, a person with knowledge of the contract told The Associated Press.

Henry’s jump from the Tennessee Titans, where he spent his first eight seasons, was among the biggest moves on the eve of the league’s new year, which officially begins at 4 p.m. EDT Wednesday.

That’s when free agents can sign contracts they’ve agreed to this week.

Henry’s deal is worth up to $20 million and includes $9 million guaranteed. The two-time NFL rushing champ joins a Baltimore team that annually produces one of the league’s leading ground games.

Running backs have struggled to earn big money in recent years — to the point where Henry organized a group chat among top players at the position last summer. This year’s free agent class included Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard, all of whom found new homes during Monday’s free agency frenzy.


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The 49ers agree to a 1-year deal to keep linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, AP source says

Barkley, Jacobs and Pollard were the three running backs franchise tagged a year ago at $10.1 million, and none signed long-term deals with their teams by the July deadline. All three became free agents this year when their teams declined to tag them again, this time at $12 million.

Henry turned 30 in January. The four-time Pro Bowler led the NFL in 2023 with 280 rushing attempts and ranked second to Christian McCaffrey with 1,167 yards rushing. His 12 rushing TDs were fourth in the AFC.

Henry leaves Tennessee ranked second in franchise history with 9,502 rushing yards, trailing only Eddie George (10,009).

The Ravens finished with the NFL’s best regular-season record in 2023 before losing to Kansas City in the AFC championship game. Now they add another proven offensive playmaker to work alongside quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is coming off his second MVP season.

Baltimore was also able to reach a long-term deal with defensive tackle Justin Madubuike after putting the franchise tag on him. But the Ravens lost inside linebacker Patrick Queen to rival Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

So far, 10 quarterbacks will be signing with new teams Wednesday: Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, Jacoby Brissett, Jameis Winston, Gardner Minshew, Tyrod Taylor, Drew Lock, Marcus Mariota, Mitchell Trubisky and Sam Darnold.

At least a dozen veteran running backs, led by Henry, Barkley, Jacobs and Pollard, are getting deals with new teams.

They’re joined by Aaron Jones, D’Andre Swift, Austin Ekeler, Devin Singletary, Antonio Gibson, Zack Moss, Gus Edwards and Nyheim Hines, among others.

The Vikings added Jones, the former Green Bay running back and 2018 third overall draft pick Darnold as a temporary replacement at quarterback for Cousins, whose departure to Atlanta was the biggest move of free agency.

Also Tuesday, the Browns agreed to a one-year deal with Winston to back up Deshaun Watson that’s worth up to $8.7 million, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told the AP.

Joe Flacco, who went 4-1 and helped the Browns reach the playoffs last season after Watson was sidelined by a shoulder injury, didn’t receive a contract offer from the Browns, said his agent, Joe Linta.

Also, a person familiar with the deal told the AP that the Texans are acquiring running back Joe Mixon from the Bengals.

Mixon, who led Cincinnati with 1,034 yards rushing and nine TDs last season, will replace Singletary.

Cincinnati planned to release him after agreeing on a contract with running back Moss, who scored seven combined TDs in ’23 for the Colts.

Mixon will join Dameon Pierce in the backfield for the AFC South champions.

Other notable moves Tuesday included edge rusher Danielle Hunter agreeing to a two-year, $49 million deal with the Texans; edge rusher Shaquil Barrett agreeing to a one-year, $9 million deal with Miami after five seasons in Tampa Bay; and former Saints defensive lineman Malcolm Roach agreeing to a two-year deal worth up to $8 million with Denver, according to people with knowledge of the deals. The Broncos allowed a league-worst 5 yards per carry last season.

The Broncos were the big spenders last year in free agency, signing 14 players to contracts worth nearly a quarter-billion dollars. But they have had to be much more judicious in their spending after their release of Wilson saddled them with a record $85 million in dead cap charges.


AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this report.



Derrick Henry heading to Ravens is another sign that running backs are valued -- at the right price (2024)


Who is Derrick Henry going to sign with? ›

'Where I Wanted To Be!' New Ravens RB Derrick Henry Thought He'd Be In Baltimore Last Season. Former Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, but the Henry-to-Ravens process actually began last season.

Did Derrick Henry sign with the Ravens? ›

The Baltimore Ravens signed Henry to a two-year, $16 million contract in free agency despite questions about how much tread is left on the tires. The back took 1,529 carries over the past five seasons in Tennessee, averaging 306 per year.

What running back will the Ravens sign? ›

In this story:

The Baltimore Ravens finally have their running back, and Derrick "King" Henry has a new home in Charm City. On Tuesday, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported the Ravens and Henry have agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal that could be worth up to $20 million.

What's the average number of yards Derrick Henry gained by rushing per game? ›

Derrick Henry has 0.04 rushing yards per attempt per game played in his career.
Derrick Henry16126.7
Derrick Henry8117.1
Derrick Henry1696.1
Derrick Henry1768.6
4 more rows

Who did Derrick Henry sign with in 2024? ›

7, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. King Henry will rule in Baltimore. The Ravens have agreed to terms with veteran running back Derrick Henry on a two-year deal. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, it's for a reported $16 million.

Who will replace Derrick Henry? ›

(AP) — The Tennessee Titans are replacing four-time Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry with Tony Pollard.

Has Derrick Henry won a rushing title? ›

Henry became the first rushing champion with a 100-yard playoff game since Terrell Davis in 1998, the first to win a playoff game since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2007, and the second Titan with multiple post-season 100+ rushing games.

Why do they call Derrick Henry the King? ›

Parade Magazine named Henry its high school football player of the year in 2013. At the time, he told Parade the nickname sprouted from his love of "The Lion King," the Disney animated classic released in 1994, about six months after Henry was born. That story has never been disputed.

Who did the Ravens sign? ›

Signed WR/KR Deonte Hardy to a contract. Re-signed LB Kyle Van Noy. Re-signed OLB Kyle Van Noy to a two-year contract. Signed OT Josh Jones.

How long is Derrick Henry's contract with the Ravens? ›

The Baltimore Ravens and running back Derrick Henry had long been connected through playing each other and potentially joining forces at the 2023 trade deadline. Now, they're together after the Ravens and Henry agreed to a two-year contract worth $16 million with $9 million guaranteed on Tuesday.

Who returns kicks for Ravens? ›

Baltimore Ravens | Ravens signing Deonte Harty, 2019 All-Pro kick returner and former Archbishop Curley star.

Did Derrick Henry leave the Titans? ›

Just like Titans star Steve McNair before him, Derrick Henry is leaving the Titans to play for the rival Baltimore Ravens.

How many 200 yd games does Derrick Henry have? ›

Derrick Henry has played 6 games with 200+ rushing yards.

How many 200 yard games does Derrick Henry have? ›

Titans' Derrick Henry ties record with 6th 200-yard rushing game.

What is Derrick Henry most carries in a game? ›

Derrick Henry had his most rush attempts in a game versus the Seahawks on September 19, 2021, with 35 rush attempts.

Who did Tony Pollard sign with? ›

NASHVILLE – The Titans have added a new piece to their offense, in a new-look backfield. On Thursday, the team officially agreed to terms with former Cowboys running back Tony Pollard.

Will Derrick Henry have a big year? ›

Pundit Says Derrick Henry Is in Position to Have a Big Year

Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson believes King Henry is set to have a big year. Henry, who turned 30 in January, finished second in rushing last season with 1,167 yards and tied for fifth among running backs with 12 rushing touchdowns.

Who will be Dallas Cowboys running back? ›

FRISCO, Texas — Nearly a week before the NFL Draft, the Cowboys have added some both depth and experience at running back. The Cowboys have signed Royce Freeman, a six-year veteran who has been with four different teams, including the Rams in 2023.

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