The Dallas Cowboys will likely start their offseason by extending Dak Prescott. The extensions for CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons will likely come at a later date. Beyond those contracts, fixing the running game should be one of the Cowboys' top priorities this offseason.
Could fixing the running woes be as simple as the Cowboys signing the pound-for-pound best running back in the NFL? After a down year from Tony Pollard, a number of fans and talking heads have advocated for Jerry Jones to bring Derrick Henry to Dallas.
A two-time rushing champ, Henry bid Titans fans a farewell after the Week 18 finale, seemingly hinting that his run in Tennessee is over. Henry will have no shortage of suitors in free agency, and though he recently turned 30 and has over 2,000 carries on his tires, he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down.
Even though the Titans season just ended, Henry is already fully engaged in offseason workouts. Whether the Cowboys pursue Henry remains to be seen, but the speculation isn't going anywhere now that he's working out in Dallas.
Derrick Henry working out in Dallas fuels Cowboys rumors
We're sure this will elicit a calm reaction from Cowboys Nation.
All kidding aside, Henry's rigorous offseason training can explain why he's still a top-tier back at his age. Most RBs experience a sharp decline around the age-27 mark. That's when Ezekiel Elliott hit his proverbial wall. Henry, though, has led the NFL in carries in four of the last five seasons and has little tremendous production, and little wear and tear, to show for it.
"The King" rushed for 1,167 yards and 12 touchdowns this year. His 4.2 yards per carry won't inspire much confidence, but the advanced metrics prove he's still elite. Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Henry led all RBs in yards after contact, while ranking fourth in missed tackles forced, sixth in yards after contact per attempt and 11th in explosive runs.
We know what you're going to say. The Cowboys finally got out from under Elliott's crippling contract and Tony Pollard's $10.1 million franchise tag, why would they splurge on an aging back after resetting the money at RB? Well, Spotrac projects Henry's value to be around $4.3 million. That's extremely palatable.
Assuming that projection is accurate, the idea of pairing Henry with a potential draft pick -- Oregon's Bucky Irvin, please and thank you -- is mouthwatering. Yes, the process of fixing the running game should be multi-faceted, but rocking with a Henry-draft-pick committee could be just what the doctor ordered.
The Cowboys miscalculated thinking Pollard could lead the backfield after his breakout 2022 campaign. It's clear the offense missed Elliott's prowess between the tackles and ability to find the end zone at the goal line. Henry is the perfect blend of power and acceleration.
If Henry can run rampant in Tennessee's porous offense, imagine the damage he'd cause running behind Tyler Smith, Zack Martin and potentially Tyron Smith if he's re-signed. Not to mention, he'd have the benefit of one of the NFL's best passing offenses.
Consider our intert piqued.