After not attending the first part of the Tennessee Titans offseason workout program, running back Derrick Henry and defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons will report for mandatory minicamp this week, according to reports from ESPN’s Turron Davenport.
The news seemingly ends speculation of the possibility for a holdout by either player amid several ongoing reports and debates about the contract status of both entering the offseason.
Simmons, who will make just $2.2 million in 2022, could be seeking a new deal. He did have his fifth-year option picked up for $10.753 million fully guaranteed at the end of April, but after seeing Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams sign a new three-year, $95 million deal, Simmons could command a deal that would make him one of the highest paid at his position.
Indianapolis’ DeForest Buckner, the second-highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL, makes $21 million per year, while Kansas City’s Chris Jones, the third-highest paid DT, makes $20 million per year. A new contract for Simmons could be similar or greater than both of those.
The 24-year-old Simmons had a breakout year in 2021, totaling career highs in tackles (54), quarterback pressures (25), QB hits (16), tackles for loss (12), QB hurries (10), sacks (8.5), and passes defensed (6).
ESPN reported that Henry, who’s signed for two more years and owed $24.5 million, could be in line for an extension in Tennessee, possibly adding a year or two onto his current contract to lower his price tag in 2022 ($12 million salary, $15 million cap hit) and 2023 ($12.5 million salary, $15.5 million cap hit).
Henry was on his way to another All-Pro season last year before breaking his foot in a Week 8 win over the Indianapolis Colts. He averaged 117.1 yards rushing per game with 10 touchdowns before his injury, and he totaled 62 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries in Tennessee’s divisional round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
At 28, it’s difficult to see Henry earning another big payday like the four-year, $50 million he signed in 2019. However, if his production doesn’t taper off and he has a season similar to his 2020 year, or 2019 for that matter, a one- or two-year extension in the $10-million-per-year range could make sense.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_