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Rams should swing for the fences by trading for Derrick Henry

All-Pro running back has seen his prime wasted by the Titans

Tennessee Titans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams primarily relied on running backs Royce Freeman and Darrell Henderson in their Week 7 loss to the Steelers. Both veterans were effective, running the ball for 127 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries. Neither player was particularly flashy and that is why LA should swing for the fences for a former All-Pro who can hold down the fort until Kyren Williams returns from IR.

Derrick Henry has been seen his prime wasted away in Tennessee. The Titans are a mess of an organization as they have a 2-4 record and are sitting in the AFC South basement after six games. Need an idea of how bad things have gotten in Nashville? Henry has accounted for a third of Tennessee’s passing touchdowns this season.

The Titans traded safety Kevin Byard to the Eagles on October 23 for mere pennies. It’s reasonable to think that Tennessee is in sell now mode and would be willing to part ways with key veterans. Henry is unwilling to think about his future but I’d have to think those thoughts of uncertainty have creeped into his mind as the deadline nears.

With the way things have gone with the Titans in 2023, Henry might not have a choice. King Henry will have decent trade value. Although it wouldn’t take a first or a second-round pick to acquire him. No reasonable GM would ever make that kind of trade for a running back pushing 30.

Late-round picks would do the trick for any team looking to trade for him. Henry still has enough left in the tank to help LA if they were interested in making a trade. Through six games, Henry has rushed for 425 yards and three touchdowns on 98 carries. Again, this has all been done on a highly inept Titans offense that is averaging 17.3 points per game, 25th in the NFL.

Wear and tear seemingly gets the best of all running backs at some point but apparently the king hasn’t gotten the memo. This is Henry’s body of work on the ground during the entirety of Tennessee's surprising 2019 AFC Championship run and his 2020 OPOY campaign in which he rushed for over 2,000 yards:

782 rushing attempts, 4,053 yards and 35 touchdowns

Even crazier is that from 2019-22, Henry had over 300 rushing attempts in three of those four years. He was well on pace to amass over 300 attempts in 2021 until he missed the last nine games of the regular season. Despite missing half of the Titans’ 12-5 campaign, Henry was 63 yards away from a 1,000-yard season on a staggering 219 carries in just eight games. Then, Henry returned in ‘22 with 349 attempts, the second-most carries in his eight-year career. Clearly the guy is built different as he’s stiff-armed Father Time into oblivion.

With the Rams developing a young roster, why would they even consider trading for an aging veteran playing a rapidly devaluing position? The logic behind such a move is actually quite simple. Matthew Stafford and Aaron Donald are in their twilight years. They realistically have maybe two, possibly three great runs left in them. LA should be a playoff team and could very well make the NFC field in a weak conference.

King Henry could be the exact player to push this team over the edge.

Even for a superhuman like Henry, he shouldn’t be expected to be a workhorse back forever. Henry would be an ideal fit on this Rams team as like Stafford and Donald, he only has so many great years left. The Titans are nowhere close to a Super Bowl team. Heck, they’ll be fortunate to finish with a winning record. I’d say why not trade Henry to an LA team on the rise.

A trade for Henry could be viewed similarly to the 49ers’ deal for Christian McCaffrey at last season’s deadline. McCaffrey vaulted San Francisco to unstoppable heights while providing a security blanket for rookie Brock Purdy en route to a deep playoff run. Henry won’t command anywhere close to the trade capital McCaffrey had, but he could provide an near-identical impact.

Trading for Derrick Henry is a relatively low-risk option the Rams should willing to take. In a wide open NFC playoff field, that could make all the difference for a young LA team figuring out how to win in the NFL.