Buffalo trying to finish deal soon
Despite reports that the Jacksonville Jaguars are close to acquiring Travis Henry, the Tennessee Titans have made the more attractive trade proposal to the Buffalo Bills and are the front-runner in the chase for the disgruntled tailback.
Discussions between the Bills and the two most ardent suitors for Henry have been ramped up, and the situation remains in flux as Buffalo officials continue their efforts trade Henry sooner rather than later. The Seattle Seahawks, who had earlier indicated interest in Henry, apparently are out of the hunt.
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio told the Florida Times-Union on Thursday that the addition of Henry, who has been on the trading block for virtually the entire offseason, could be completed "in the next few days or week."
"The fact that we have an opportunity to acquire a running back [with] this kind of talent is something we have to look at, [and] so we're looking at it," Del Rio said. "This may or may not happen, but we're protecting our interests, and any time we think we can acquire somebody who can help us, we're going to do that."
In their quest to add a proven tailback as an insurance policy in case star Fred Taylor might not be fully rehabilitated from knee surgery for the start of the regular season, the Jaguars have completed one crucial element in a potential acquisition of Henry. ESPN.com has confirmed that the Jaguars earlier this week reached agreement in principle with Henry on a multi-year contract extension.
But the Jaguars are lagging in the second half of the equation -- satisfying the price tag of Buffalo general manager Tom Donahoe, who has been seeking a third-round draft pick in return for the four-year veteran tailback.
It is now believed that Tennessee, which has been trying to land a proven tailback to back up fragile starter Chris Brown, has offered the Bills a solid third-round pick. That pick, it is believed, includes no conditions. It is not known what Jacksonville has proposed to the Bills, and it's actually unclear whether the Jaguars even have made a formal offer. The Titans have not been able yet to reach a contract extension accord with Henry.
Because Henry is entering the final year of his contract, with a scheduled base salary of $1.25 million for 2005, an extension is important. No team would want to deal for Henry and then have him depart as an unrestricted free agent next spring.
Further complicating trade negotiations is that Tennessee general manager Floyd Reese is attending his son's wedding this weekend and could be unavailable for bargaining.
A tough and determined inside runner, with a pair of 1,000-yard seasons, Henry is an attractive back for both teams, in part because of the injury problems of their current starters. Brown has missed considerable playing time in both his seasons with the Titans and is currently recovering from a broken hand suffered this spring. Taylor had knee surgery in the offseason to repair what he said were two torn ligaments.
Del Rio said Thursday that Jaguars officials were encouraged this week by the progress Taylor has recently demonstrated, but acknowledged the veteran back will practice only once a day, likely in shorts, for the opening stages of training camp.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here .
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