Monday’s news that Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is out indefinitely and could miss the rest of the season with a foot injury significantly changed the NFL landscape ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline. Henry is irreplaceable. He leads the NFL in rushing by 353 yards and accounts for 36.2% of Tennessee’s total yards and 10 of the team’s 24 offensive touchdowns. With NFL trade rumors abounding, who are some running backs the Titans could consider?
Titans’ RB options with Derrick Henry out
The Titans will not and should not simply give up on the season. They’re 6-2 and currently the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The decision Monday to sign Adrian Peterson is a quick fix. But with just Jeremy McNichols, Khari Blasingame, and Mekhi Sargent as the only other backs on their active roster, the Titans probably need to make another move. Peterson last appeared in a game in January, when he rushed for 63 yards on seven carries as a member of the Washington Football Team.
There are limitations to how big a splash Tennessee can make. They’re already without their second-round pick (sent to Atlanta in the Julio Jones trade) but should get some sort of compensatory pick after losing Jonnu Smith to the Patriots.
Related | 2021 NFL Trade Deadline
Money shouldn’t be an issue. They still have over $6 million in cap space. If they do end up needing more financial breathing room, the Titans can restructure any number of veteran contracts and push money into the future.
Here are just a few of the names they could pursue before Tuesday’s 4 PM ET trade deadline.
Titans RB Trade Targets | AFC
Could the Titans look within their own conference to find a running back?
Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts
The only reason for the Colts not to entertain a trade within the division is stubbornness. The Titans just swept the Colts to stretch their lead in the AFC South to three games. Tennessee owns the tiebreaker, so for the Colts to win the division, they’ll need to finish ahead of the Titans in the standings. That’s a very tough ask with just nine games left in the season.
Marlon Mack is exactly the kind of player the Colts should look to unload. He is a free agent at year’s end and is the team’s No. 3 back behind Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. If the Titans make the best offer, Indy should take it, regardless of personal pique.
Tevin Coleman, New York Jets
The Jets should be among the league’s top sellers this week, and Tevin Coleman is an obvious candidate to move. He has hardly played this year, partially because of injury (Coleman has missed the last two games with a hamstring). In fact, Coleman has just 49 carries since the start of the 2020 season, but if he could ever get right physically, he could help a team.
Ty’Son Williams, Baltimore Ravens
What a reversal in Baltimore. Two months ago, there was worry that the Ravens would hardly be able to field a team after season-ending injuries to their top two running backs. Now, they’re so rich at the position that teams are calling Baltimore about trading for Williams.
The combination of Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell might be good enough for the Ravens to consider moving Ty’Son Williams, even though he has averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
Titans RB Trade Targets | NFC
Which NFC running backs could the Titans go after?
Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What would be the Buccaneers’ motivation to move Ronald Jones when their single-minded focus is winning another Super Bowl? Just two weeks ago, Bruce Arians seemed pretty emphatic that Jones would remain on the roster past the deadline.
When asked if there’s a chance the Buccaneers could move Jones, who has 44 carries for 194 yards on the season, Arians responded:
“No, none at all. It’s a long season, and just that scenario that happened last year and still with COVID, you can’t have enough good backs.”
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