There was a story floating around yesterday that the Ravens are the front runners to sign free agent running back Derrick Henry. Hard to know if these are actual news items or just ambitious reporters connecting dots. Either way, it's a belief I subscribe to -- Henry to Ravens makes too much sense not to happen.

Henry is 30 years old, and perhaps he's lost a half step. And as Ian posted yesterday the track record of transplant free agent running back is not so good. But I'm not betting against Henry and the Ravens being exactly what each part of that equation is looking for in 2024.

If Henry has lost a little, it hasn't been abundantly clear from his numbers. Last year he averaged just 4.2 yards per attempt, but still piled up 1,167 rushing yards and scored double-digit touchdowns for the sixth year in a row. This in an offense that didn't have much of a passing game and started a second-round rookie quarterback for half the season. A Henry something below what he was when he ran for 2,000 yards is still better than the vast majority of running backs in the league.

Baltimore, meanwhile, hasn't had a difference-making running back for a long time. You have to go back more than a decade to see big seasons from Ray Rice, and a few standout performances from guys like Justin Forsett and Willis McGahee. Since Henry entered the league back in 2016, there hasn't been a true standout in Baltimore.

Over the past eight years, Henry has posted four top-10 fantasy seasons (PPR scoring), and the guy he replaced, DeMarco Murray, had another. Baltimore has a single top-10 season from a running back in that timeframe: 2019 Mark Ingram. Just one other top-20 performance, too (2017 Alex Collins). Their top performance in the last four years was Gus Edwards ranking 26th at the position last season.

Some will point out that Baltimore has favored a committee at the position in recent years, but I think that's because of what they've had available. Edwards, Ingram, oft-injured J.K. Dobbins, Kenyan Drake et al -- all a step or three below what Henry brings to the table even at age 30.

2020Derrick Henry, Ten.37820271911417337.13
2022Derrick Henry, Ten.34915383339813308.84
2019Derrick Henry, Ten.30315401820618300.65
2016DeMarco Murray, Ten.29312875337712295.95
2023Derrick Henry, Ten.28011672821412246.89
2019Mark Ingram, Balt.20210182624715246.510
2018Derrick Henry, Ten.2151059159912203.516
2021Derrick Henry, Ten.2199371815410193.422
2023Gus Edwards, Balt.1988101218013191.026
2017Alex Collins, Balt.212973231876175.019
2017DeMarco Murray, Ten.184659392667173.521
2016Terrance West, Balt.193774342366171.023
2020J.K. Dobbins, Balt.134805181209168.524
2017Javorius Allen, Balt.153591462506166.124
2018Dion Lewis, Ten.155517594002162.727
2023Tyjae Spears, Ten.100453523853153.834
2021Devonta Freeman, Balt.133576341906146.632
2017Derrick Henry, Ten.176744111366135.037
2020Gus Edwards, Balt.14472391296130.237
2018Alex Collins, Balt.114411151058114.644
2023Justice Hill, Balt.84387282064111.344
2016Derrick Henry, Ten.110490131375105.745
2022Kenyan Drake, Balt.10948217895104.145
2016Kenneth Dixon, Balt.88382301623102.447

Baltimore curiously didn't really try to run the ball against Kansas City in the AFC Championship game. Maybe it was the way the defense was playing them, maybe they didn't have faith in the players they could give the ball too. I think that would change with King Henry. I would be interested in him in Baltimore, and in the Ravens as an AFC favorite, if this signing happens next month.

--Andy Richardson