Eddie George: Derrick Henry deserves Christian McCaffrey money
Christian McCaffrey’s megabucks deal from the Carolina Panthers may have just set the market for elite running backs, and now one retired player who used to belong to that category is weighing in.
In an interview this week with John Glennon of The Athletic, Tennessee Titans legend Eddie George said that current Titans star Derrick Henry deserves to be paid like McCaffrey was, if not more.
“I think that Christian McCaffrey’s deal certainly opens up the eyes of people around the league in terms of what Derrick’s value is,” George said. “Derrick is the heart and soul of the Titans. They don’t make that playoff run without him. He led them to the brink of a Super Bowl berth. When you look at what Christian did from a running back perspective, productivity-wise, that was outstanding. But when it equates to wins and a team, it’s not comparable.
“I could see a deal similar or a little more than Christian McCaffrey, making Derrick the highest-paid running back in the league,” added George. “And create a deal where it’s a win-win for both sides. Maybe it’s not long in years. Maybe it’s a four-year deal. You look at it after Year 3, if he’s still producing, great. But you have to look at Derrick’s history. He doesn’t have a lot of tread off the tire. He’s just getting started. There’s tremendous upside, in my opinion, for what he can do, both on the field, certainly, and as a face of the franchise, something they’ve been trying to establish for a long time.”
McCaffrey and Henry do have very different playstyles and physical profiles, something that George also acknowledged in the interview. But the former just got a four-year, $64 million extension from Carolina at age 23, making him the highest-paid running back in NFL history. Henry is now 26 and is not quite the threat McCaffrey is in the passing game, but his Herculean physique makes him arguably the toughest player to tackle in the league today. He also led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns last season.
Henry recently signed his one-year franchise tender worth $10.2 million for next season, but the Titans are already showing signs that they plan to pay him what he is worth. If George’s opinion serves as any indication, that is going to be A LOT of stacks.