The NY Jets officially hired former Tennessee Titans assistant Tony Dews to be their new running backs coach last week. Dews' arrival could foreshadow one high-profile free agent the Jets could target this offseason.
Former All-Pro running back Derrick Henry is set to hit free agency this offseason, and all signs point to him leaving Tennessee. The expectation is that the four-time Pro Bowler will be playing for a new team in 2024.
Henry may not be the dominant force he was in his prime, but he's fresh off his fourth 1,100-yard season in five years and was still an effective running back this past season.
The Jets will be in the market for a capable RB2 alongside Breece Hall this offseason, and Henry has the potential to be everything the team wanted in Dalvin Cook — but just a lot better.
The NY Jets should target Derrick Henry this offseason
Dews served as Henry's running backs coach from 2018-2022 before shifting into a role as the Titans' tight ends coach in 2023. It wasn't until Dews took over as Tennessee's running backs coach that Henry became a full-time starter.
Henry led the NFL in rushing yards and touchdowns in consecutive seasons under Dews' guidance, setting a new franchise record with 2,027 yards in 2020. The coaching connection makes the Jets an obvious landing spot for Henry this offseason.
And unlike Cook last offseason, Henry is exactly the type of running back the Jets should be targeting.
Henry may have turned 30 in January, but he's still proven to have plenty left in the tank. The former Alabama star ranked 13th among all running backs in total RYOE (rushing yards over expected) in 2023.
Take Pro Football Focus grades with a grain of salt, but Henry's 90.2 PFF grade ranked third among qualified running backs and was the second-highest grade of his career (after his historic 2020 season).
Henry would also be a much better complement to Hall than Cook ever was. The Jets desperately need a powerful short-yardage back who can grind out yards in between the tackles, preferably on third down. Cook never fit that role, but Henry does.
At 6-foot-3, 247 pounds, Henry is one of the most physically dominant players to ever play the game. He may have lost a step or two from his All-Pro days, but this isn't a Dalvin Cook situation. Henry is far from washed.
A running back duo of Breece Hall and Derrick Henry would give the Jets the backfield tandem they thought they had entering the 2023 season. The addition of Tony Dews makes this an obvious move for Gang Green.