It was reported on Monday that Derrick Henry will miss at least a few weeks, if not the entire season, with a foot injury. The Titans may go with what is currently on their roster, but a trade or signing could be beneficial. Here are running backs for the Titans to target after the Derrick Henry injury.
1. Adrian Peterson
Why is Adrian Peterson so high on this list? The Titans are expected to work out the veteran running back this week according to Ian Rapoport. Peterson, 36, has not played this season. Over his career, he has amassed 14,820 rushing yards and 118 touchdowns on the ground. He has spent time with the Vikings, Cardinals, Saints, Washington Football team and Lions earning seven Pro-Bowl selections and an MVP along the way.
Peterson will have some fresh legs and his style of running is reminiscent of Henry’s. He will be able to run with power, to help keep the team’s identity, but with his age, he lacks that breakaway speed that has produced so many big runs for the Titans over the years. Peterson could handle the early-down work for the Titans, while Jeremy McNichols and Darrynton Evans could provide a change of pace.
2. Todd Gurley
Todd Gurley is another running back who hasn’t played this year. The 27-year-old has had some bad knee issues, which has limited the explosiveness that was seen earlier in his career and has made teams shy away from him. In six seasons in the NFL, Gurley has rushed for 6,082 rushing yards and 67 touchdowns. He started his career off well with the Rams, but managed just 678 rushing yards in 15 games for the Falcons in 2020.
While he isn’t the size of Henry, Gurley can run with power as well. He will have likely have to workout and clear a medical check before the Titans could sign him. If his knee is healthy, Gurley could be a bruising running back for the Titans to use. The three-time Pro-Bowler would be one of the closer things the Titans could find to Henry, if he is healthy. That’s a big question mark though.
3. Wayne Gallman
After starting his career with the Giants, Wayne Gallman started the season with the 49ers before being moved to the Falcons. He has yet to see too much action, as Atlanta boasts a backfield duo of Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson. In his five-year career, Gallman has rushed for 1,477 yards and nine touchdowns as a primary backup to Saquon Barkley for the Giants.
Because Gallman isn’t getting much playing time and because the Falcons are below .500, they may be interested in moving the running back. Former Titans’ offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is now the head coach of the Falcons, so a deal might be able to be worked out with his former team. Gallman wouldn’t cost the Titans too much in terms of draft picks in a trade and he can is a versatile back.
4. D’Ernest Johnson
With injuries to both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt over the last few weeks, D’Ernest Johnson has produced for the Browns at running back. When both were out in week 7, Johnson rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos. He has 179 rushing yards and two touchdowns all season, showing that the Browns don’t need Johnson when their running back room is healthier.
Chubb is already back from his injury and Hunt likely won’t be out too much longer. The Browns could trade Johnson and get some draft capital in return. One thing that could hold the trade back is that both teams likely figure that they will be competing against each other in the AFC for a playoff spot. If the Browns don’t care, or think that the Titans will win the division and therefore won’t be directly competing with them, they may make the trade. Johnson ran with his opportunity and could have a market out there for him in a trade and as a restricted free agent this offseason.
5. Ronald Jones
For whatever reason, Jones has fallen out of favor in the Buccaneers’ backfield. Leonard Fournette gets the most of the work and Giovanni Bernard handles pass-catching duties. Jones has played well in the past, as he averaged 5.1 yards per attempt in 2020. He has just 194 rushing yards and one touchdown during the 2021 season.
Tampa Bay is another team that could move a running back they aren’t playing much in order to get draft picks. Tennessee likely wouldn’t have to give up too much for Jones, as he’s not being used. Jones could provide some play-making ability with his quickness, but the offense may lack that power running style with him. If the Titans start making calls around the league, Jones is one of the running backs they should be asking about.
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