Cowboys explain baffling decision not to pursue Derrick Henry: Dallas didn’t

When Derrick Henry hit free agency this year, one team that he definitely would have been interested in signing with was the Dallas Cowboys.

From a personnel standpoint, the potential move would have made a lot of sense: The Cowboys had a major need at running back and Henry was one of the best players available at the position. As it turns out, though, the Cowboys didn’t even bother calling Henry and now we know why.

During a recent interview on SiriusXM Mad Dog radio, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones explained why his team didn’t reach out to the NFL’s active leader in career rushing yards. The Cowboys didn’t even bother to make a courtesy call, and apparently, it had everything to do with their salary cap situation.

“Our situation is just, you know, and no one ever wants to say it, but it’s salary cap, and we just didn’t have the money to allocate to that position in terms of where we were from a cap standpoint,” Jones said, via PFT. “Knowing what we’re looking at with Dak [Prescott] and certainly Micah [Parsons] and CeeDee Lamb.”

Prescott, Parsons and Lamb are all expected to get extensions soon, which actually makes this situation slightly worse, because if the Cowboys had gotten any of those extensions done before the start of free agency, it likely would have freed up some salary cap space for the 2024 offseason.

Henry ended up signing a two-year, $16 million deal with the Ravens that included $9 million in guaranteed money and Jones says the Cowboys just didn’t have the cap room to sign a running back to a contract like that.

“We just didn’t have those type of resources to allocate to that position or we probably would’ve already had it filled with Tony Pollard,” Jones said. “We just didn’t have the dollars to allocate to the running back position. And, certainly, looking to do it in a more efficient way in terms of how it complements the rest of our offensive roster.”

Pollard actually ended up with the Titans after Tennessee brought him in to replace Henry.

After signing with the Ravens in March, Henry said he definitely would have been interested in the Cowboys if they had called.

“Yeah, of course,” Henry said, when asked if he would have been interested. “That’s where I stay in the offseason. … That’s a great organization. Would have been a great opportunity, but I’m thankful that I ended up here in Baltimore, somewhere I wanted to be.”

At another point this offseason, Henry said the landing with the Cowboys would have been the “perfect situation.” The fact that the Cowboys didn’t even call Henry is the bizarre part. If he wanted to play for them, he might have been willing to take a small discount, but they’ll never know since they never called.

It would have made sense to check with Henry to see if the two sides were in the same financial ballpark, but that didn’t happen.

Henry spent his entire eight-season career with the Titans before signing with the Ravens in March, but it seems he would have been happy signing with Dallas. The Cowboys clearly didn’t feel the same way about Henry and although the running back didn’t end up signing with them, he will get to play one game in Dallas this year when the Cowboys host the Ravens.

Henry will find out when his trip to Dallas will be happening after the NFL releases the 2024 schedule on Wednesday.

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