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A year after big-name running backs banded together in an effort to resist the devaluation of their position, the market for ball carriers is perhaps less promising than ever. Not one of this year's high-profile backs, including repeat Pro Bowlers and rushing champions, received the franchise tag ahead of 2024 free agency, meaning an abundance will become available.

That doesn't mean, however, that interest won't pick up as the market unfolds. And there's perhaps one name that still resonates as a potential big-ticket addition: Derrick Henry.

In today's NFL, a 30-year-old RB is practically a nonexistent one, and Henry's also had a heavier workload than most, ranking behind only Ezekiel Elliott in career rushing attempts (2,030) among active backs. But the longtime Tennessee Titans star has remained a steady, supersized offensive centerpiece almost a decade in, fresh off his fifth 1,000-yard campaign in six years.

While his 4.2 yards-per-carry mark of 2023 was the worst of his All-Pro career, he also saw more eight-man defensive fronts than most, per the NFL's Next Gen Stats, and led the league in yards after contact, according to Pro Football Focus. In other words, while Henry certainly registers as more of a short-term free agent bet, he remains both a reliable and freakishly gifted bludgeon -- perfectly capable of a plug-and-play role for a team hoping to fortify its rushing attack.

So what's next for King Henry? Here are our top logical landing spots, plus a prediction on his final contract:

Logical landing spots

Austin Ekeler was a true pass-catching weapon for L.A. in his prime, but headed for the market, he's primed to be replaced by a more traditional back in Jim Harbaugh's setup. After enjoying Frank Gore's physicality back in San Francisco, the new coach could recruit Henry in a bid for an instant playoff push.

The Cowboys are well-positioned to pivot away from the expensive big-name back after a so-so year of Tony Pollard running the show, but will they be able to resist? Henry's no-nonsense toughness is something they could be desperate to infuse after an ugly ending to the 2023 season.

The Dolphins find ways to get just about any ball-carrier in space thanks to Mike McDaniel's system, but they sniffed around big-name additions in 2023. Imagine pairing Henry's size with De'Von Achane's speed as a means of providing Tua Tagovailoa even more support. As a bonus, Henry is from Florida and recently admitted he'd always dreamed of suiting up for the Dolphins.

It's hard to envision general manager Howie Roseman paying big bucks to any running back, let alone one over 30. But if the explosive D'Andre Swift cashes in elsewhere, he could do a lot worse for a short-term gamble, giving Jalen Hurts a supersized backfield companion while working to develop a successor.

Both Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins are set to hit free agency, and Baltimore was reportedly close to landing Henry at the 2023 trade deadline. The thunder-and-lightning combo could work wonders for both the big back and Lamar Jackson, scaring defenses in different ways.

Devin Singletary was an underrated starter for them in 2023, but he's set to hit the market, presenting Houston with an opportunity to upgrade around young star QB C.J. Stroud. Henry would get a chance to join a rising contender, as well as run full force into his old team at least twice a year.


The Cowboys, Dolphins and Eagles all sound like fun destinations for a player of Henry's caliber. But those splashy teams have other, more pressing needs; they don't figure to rush to spend top dollar at this position, especially when there are so many other capable starters set to be available. In the end, Henry's would-be 2023 landing spot feels like his most likely for 2024, with a certain AFC North contender squarely in the market for running back reinforcements after exploring his availability before.

Our forecast: Henry signs a two-year, $18 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens. He gets the star-studded team-up with fellow Florida native Lamar Jackson. They get a bruising playmaker to help ground Todd Monken's attack. A win-win.