Late for Work: Ravens Get A+++ for Reported Derrick Henry Deal


Ravens Get High Marks for ‘Genius Maneuver’ of Reported Deal With Derrick Henry

The start of the legal tampering period Monday caused some consternation for Ravens fans, as top tier running backs flew off the shelves while a number of Baltimore’s free agents signed elsewhere.

Flock Nation was feeling considerably better yesterday. The Ravens made the biggest splash on Day 2 by reportedly landing four-time Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry on a two-year, $16 million contract.

Here’s a look at what the pundits said about King Henry becoming a Raven:’s Judy Battista, who named the Ravens a Day 2 winner: “Even after more than 2,000 career touches, the 30-year-old Henry still has tread left. He rushed for 1,167 yards last season, has had just one sub-1,000 yard season in the last six and is famously difficult to tackle, especially late in the season. The Ravens are in a Super Bowl window right now, with a superb quarterback, an outstanding defense and weapons everywhere — and they’ve managed to add the most dominant running back of his generation. The rich get richer, and goal-line situations are going to be a nightmare for opposing defenses.”

Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger: “Fit/need grade: A+++. Value: A. The Ravens finally get their man, with Henry a target at last year’s trade deadline as Baltimore geared up for a deep playoff run. The duo of Henry and Lamar Jackson in the backfield is going to be an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses, and we can’t wait to see it in action.”

CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan: “Grade: A. This has been a marriage long in the making dating to the trade deadline and it has finally come to fruition. … The combination of Henry and Lamar Jackson gives Baltimore arguably the best rushing attack in the league. Henry’s ability to churn out hard yardage could prove to be vital come playoff time.”

ESPN’s Seth Walder: “Grade: A-. How could you not be excited about this? As skeptical as I am of paying running backs, if you’re going to do it, do it in a Lamar Jackson offense with a transcendent running back talent — while guaranteeing only roughly one year’s worth of money, less than some of the other free agents in this class. … It’s enticing to imagine him in this Baltimore offense, which ranked fourth in run block win rate and could allow him to get his momentum going. And of course, having Henry play with Jackson — an elite running threat in his own right — should make life difficult for opposing defenses (but result in great viewing for the rest of us).”

NFL Network’s Rich Eisen: “What a marriage of talent and team, and 100 percent on brand for the Baltimore Ravens to bring Derrick Henry to ‘Bawlmer’ and roll him downhill. What an absolute genius maneuver by [General Manager] Eric DeCosta. … Pick your poison. Who do you want running at you, him or Lamar?”

ESPN’s Pat McAfee: “Derrick Henry in the same backfield is Lamar Jackson in something you would piece together in a Madden game, and now the Baltimore Ravens are going to be doing it every single week. … Congrats to the Ravens, you got better.”

PTI’s Michael Wilbon: “It gives the Ravens another way to go after Kansas City. It fortifies them. You get a guy like Derrick Henry, it gives confidence to the entire room, particularly the people in that offensive huddle. Particularly if healthy in November, December, January. You say it’s minus-9 in Kansas City? Fine, let’s go! We got a quarterback with superior athletic skills … and we got a running back who may not go for 2,0000 yards anymore but can get us 150 in the cold, maybe two touchdowns, and kill you on third-and-short, fourth-and-short, and in the red zone.”

PFF’s Gordon McGuinness: “Henry is an excellent fit for Baltimore, as he will be afforded much more room when he touches the ball. Last season, the Titans averaged just 1.0 yards before contact per rush attempt, tied for the sixth-worst mark in the league. The Ravens, on the other hand, averaged 1.6 yards before contact per attempt, tied for the league’s fourth-highest mark. That might not seem like a lot, but an extra half-yard of momentum for a 6-foot-3, 247-pound running back will make a big difference. There’s also the added stress this puts on opposing linebackers and safeties in the box. Lamar Jackson has already made life incredibly difficult for those players, as they have to diagnose and then react to whether he is keeping the ball as a runner, handing it to a back or throwing the ball. The addition of Henry just adds another level to that.”

The Athletic’s Randy Mueller: “If ever there was a fit destined to come to fruition, it was King Henry and the Ravens. Henry brings with him a culture, an identity and a style that should stop the revolving door in the Baltimore backfield. He runs angry, which fits the Ravens’ persona. He’ll also pair very nicely with Keaton Mitchell. Henry will help the Ravens close out games, and they played with a lead more than any other team in the league in 2023. He had 63 first-down rushes and zero fumbles in 2023, cementing the feeling that there’s still tread left on his tire, even at age 30. His fifth gear might not be what it used to be, but gears 1-4 are still really good. Taking a slight pay cut over his previous salary in Tennessee, he signed for a second-tier deal, so that part makes sense as well.”


The Athletics Dan Pompei: “Henry fits the team’s offense as well as any back could, and he fits the team’s culture as well. It’s not a stretch to see him and Lamar among the top 10 rushers in the league and the Ravens setting a team rushing record. When opponents gang up on Henry, lanes will open for Lamar. When opponents line up to stop Lamar, holes will open for Henry. The only question is durability, as Henry is 30 and has high mileage. But if he stays healthy, look out.”

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley: “For the first time in Jackson’s six-year career, defenses are going to have to fear someone in the Baltimore backfield other than the two-time NFL Most Valuable Player. Henry is a strong and explosive runner who has produced the most rushing yards (8,268) and yards from scrimmage (9,453) in the NFL since 2018. Entering his seventh NFL season, Jackson is at the stage of his career where he needed the Ravens to add more than just a starting-caliber running back. He needed a proven playmaker to take the pressure off of him being the No. 1 rushing threat.”

SB Nation’s Mark Schofield: “In Baltimore the presence of Jackson, as well as the other running backs on the roster, gives the Ravens the opportunity to keep Henry on something of a pitch count, using him as needed and keeping him as fresh as possible for a late-season push. A relatively rested Henry in the playoffs for the Ravens? Sounds like a nightmare to the rest of the conference.”

NFL Network’s Steve Wyche: “Yes, he’s a bell-cow, but they’ll probably save him more for the end of the season. That only makes this Ravens offense more dangerous. … This could be a frightening offense.”



Derrick Mason Says Henry ‘Can Tip the Scale’ for Ravens in Their Super Bowl Quest

Like Henry will (reportedly) do, former NFL wide receiver Derrick Mason spent eight seasons with the Titans before continuing his career in Baltimore. Mason, who hosts a sports talk show in Nashville, spoke with Glenn Clark Radio about Henry yesterday morning prior to the announcement of the reported agreement between Henry and the Ravens.

“I think Derrick Henry is still a damn good runner. … Just pure running the football, Derrick Henry is still the best runner of the football in the National Football League.” Mason said. “He’s just one of those players, sort of like Adrian Peterson, [in that] it seems like the older he gets, he figures out another way, figures out another gear, and he’s still a very highly productive back.”

Mason believes Henry could get the Ravens over the hump and into the Super Bowl.

“The Baltimore Ravens are damn close to winning a Super Bowl, and if Derrick Henry is that one guy that can tip the scale, you pay him the money that he wants, because ultimately you’re going to get back 20-fold what you paid Derrick Henry if you win a Super Bowl,” Mason said. “If you put him in that offense with Lamar, with Zay Flowers, with Mark Andrews and the other guys that they have once you solidify the offensive line, he is a scale-tipper.”


Jeff Zrebiec Says Patrick Queen Reportedly Signing With Steelers Isn’t a Surprise

Predictably, there was no shortage of “King and Queen” puns circulating yesterday, as the other big news for the Ravens, aside from the reported deal with King Henry, was Pro Bowl inside linebacker Patrick Queen reportedly agreeing with the Pittsburgh Steelers on a three-year, $41 million contract.

Queen leaving Baltimore wasn’t a surprise given the Ravens’ salary-cap constraints and $100 million investment in inside linebacker Roquan Smith. However, Queen (reportedly) joining the Ravens’ arch rivals made losing him a little tougher to swallow.

“The Ravens surely hoped that Queen would end up outside the division and not with their biggest rival, but they know the Steelers value similar characteristics in players that they do, so this couldn’t have been a huge surprise,” The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec wrote.

Zrebiec added: “There have been plenty of players that have represented both teams during their careers, but it’s hard to come up with a more prominent example, given Queen’s age (24), popularity in the locker room and importance to Baltimore during his young career.”

Queen’s expected defection adds yet another layer to the heated rivalry between the Ravens and Steelers.

NFL Network’s David Carr said Queen vs. the Ravens is the revenge game he’s most looking forward to next season. Queen’s now former teammate, fullback Patrick Ricard, is eager for those meetings as well.


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