NASHVILLE – The Titans placed the franchise tag on running back Derrick Henry last month.
On a conference call on Wednesday, Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said the team would eventually like to sign Henry to a long-term deal.
"I met with Derrick, as I met with all the guys whose contracts were going to be up at the end of the season and told them we were going to start working on that, which we did," Robinson said. "At the end of the day we couldn't come to an agreement on that one, so we used one of the avenues to keep Derrick because Derrick is an important part of our football team.
"I have spoken to (Derrick's) representatives after we used the tag and we want to continue to have those discussions … in hopes of reaching some type of long-term agreement and we'll kick those conversations off again here certainly before training camp gets ramped up and going."
The Titans used a non-exclusive franchise tag on Henry, which means he can receive offers from other teams with the Titans having the opportunity to match. If Tennessee declines, the other team must give the Titans two first-round draft picks — making it unlikely another team will make Henry an offer this offseason.
The Titans are allowed to negotiate a long-term deal to replace the franchise tag until July 15th, after which time Henry would have to play the 2020 season under the one-year franchise tag.
Henry, selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2019, was named the FedEx Ground Player of the Year and second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press after leading the NFL with a career-best 1,540 rushing yards on 303 carries.
Henry ranked third in NFL with 18 total touchdowns, and he ranked second in the AFC and fourth in the NFL with 1,746 yards from scrimmage.
At the Pro Bowl, Henry said he'd like to remain in Tennessee.
"I want to stay with the Tennessee Titans," Henry said. "They are the ones that took a chance on me – 31 teams passed on me on the draft and they selected me. I have a lot of love for Tennessee. I have a lot of love for everyone in that organization."
Robinson said Henry has indicated to him he'd like to stay with the Titans as well.
"I think any time a player, when you have to use the tag on them, that's something that ideally they probably don't want," Robinson said of Henry. "But still, at the same time, I know that he wants to be a part of this football team and I thought it was good that they communicated back he does want to be here, and he does want to keep working on this thing. It wasn't something like, 'OK, well, I'll take the (tag) and I'm done, or I am just going to do whatever. He wants to be here, and he conveyed the message to me, through his agent, that he wants to keep working on this thing and we do, too."
A look back at RB Derrick Henry's 2019 Pro Bowl season that saw him rush 303 times for an NFL-leading 1,540 yards (5.1-yard avg.) and 16 touchdowns. (Photos: Donald Page)