Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is not a free agent until 2024; however, he has plenty to say about the current devaluing of the work he and his peers do for their teams on the football field.
Henry took to Twitter to share his thoughts after it became official that Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders, Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys, and Saquon Barkey of the New York Giants, franchise tagged by their teams, would not be getting long-term deals before the 2023 NFL season.
What Henry Said
Henry was responding to a tweet from ESPN Draft Analyst Matt Miller who shared what he thought the long-term strategy should be for fielding the running back position.
Been saying it for years:
1. Draft a RB
2. Play the RB
…if he’s good…
3. Franchise tag the RB ONE TIME
1. Draft a RB…
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) July 17, 2023
Miller basically said a drafted running back should play the rookie contract and get franchise tagged for an additional year before being replaced by a new draft pick.
“At this point , just take the RB position out the game then . The ones that want to be great & work as hard as they can to give their all to an organization , just seems like it don’t even matter . I’m with every RB that’s fighting to get what they deserve.”
Others responded by suggesting that the NFL Players Association should be protecting the running backs and help them to be paid based on what they contribute to the team.
It is not clear how that would work, but the amount of former NFL rushing leaders that are either franchise tagged or are free agents in 2023 is mind-boggling.
They include the 2022 rushing leader Josh Jacobs, the 2016 and 2018 leader Ezekiel Elliott, and the 2017 leader Kareem Hunt.
The only two rushing leaders not personally affected are Henry, the 2019 and 2020 rushing leader, and Jonathan Taylor, the 2021 rushing leader.
Henry and Taylor are both free agents in 2024 so they could be the subject of the same treatment a year from now.