Titans’ GM, Jon Robinson, has a lot of decisions to make this offseason with 22 upcoming free agents. 13 of the free agents play offense and 2 are quarterbacks. Some of the biggest names include Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, Logan Ryan, Jack Conklin, and Marcus Mariota.
CB Logan Ryan has been one of the Titans most consistent defensive backs since being signed by the team in 2017. Ryan is the 19th highest paid Cornerback in the NFL though he will likely demand more than his current $10m per year deal. Ryan is 28 years old and he recorded 5 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles over the 2019-2020 season. Ryan has been good but I do not think he has been good as many people have said. Ryan did not rank in the top 25 corner backs according to ProFootballFocus.com though Titans CB’s Tramaine Brock Sr and Adoree Jackson did.
There is no telling if the Titans will resign Logan Ryan but if they do, it could come at over $10m per year. With pending deals for both Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry, resigning Tramaine Brock Sr for a cheaper price may be a better option. I would happily take Ryan if he signed a similar deal to his current one because he has been solid.
QB Ryan Tannehill is one of the most relevant free agents in the NFL this season. Tannehill took over the Titans after the Week 6 loss to the Broncos. Tannehill rejuvenated the team and became one of the most valuable players in the NFL. Tannehill was awarded comeback player of the year last week and deservingly so. Tannehill ranked as one of the most efficient passers in the NFL and lead the Titans to the AFC Championship. Tannehill did not play nearly as well in the playoffs though he deserves and will likely get a big contract. Russel Wilson is the highest payed starting quarterback at $35m per year and the average starter currently makes about $15m.
I’m guessing Tannehill will sign a 3 year $80m extension with the Titans, making around $27m per year. Just last season, the Jaguars gave Super Bowl winning QB, Nick Foles, a 4 year $88m deal with $50m guaranteed. Tannehill is in a similar situation to Foles last year. Tannehill is coming off a huge breakout year and I am hoping a big contract does not backfire like it did in Jacksonville.
RB Derrick Henry has been the Titans most valuable player over the last couple of seasons and he was the 2019/2020 NFL rushing leader. After sitting behind Demarco Murray for a seasons and a half, Henry emerged and became arguably the most dominant running back in the NFL. Needless to say, Henry will want a huge contract, similar to Ezekiel Elliot. In an interview on the Rich Eisen show, Henry called Elliot’s 6 year, $90m deal “the floor”. It was unclear whether Henry was joking but lets hope he was. Henry is 26 years old and he is entering his 4th season. Henry totaled 1,540 rushing yards, 16 rushing touchdowns, and 2 receiving touchdowns in the regular season, adding 446 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, and a passing touchdown in the playoffs.
I do not see any way the Titans do not resign Derrick Henry. The team could explore placing a franchise tag on Henry, which would pay him just under $7m for one season. The franchise tag secures a player for just one season and the player is paid an average of the top 5 highest played players at the position. $7m is very reasonable for Henry but the liklehood that he will accept that his low. I think Henry will want upwards of $10m and he deserves it. My biggest concern is the fact that running backs often decline around the age of 27, which is just one year away.
RT Jack Conklin was drafted in 15th overall in 2016 and in his rookie season, he was one of the best Right Tackles in the NFL. Conklin declined after tearing his ACL in the 2017 playoffs and has not been quite the same since. The TItans chose not to pick up Conklin's 5th year option last offseason, making him a free agent this offseason. I think Conklin has played very well throughout his career and he is deserving of a new contract. The highest payed RT, Lane Johnson, makes $18m per year though I do not think Conklin will come too close to that number. Conklin is just 25 years old and I am guessing another team that is desperate for RT will offer Conklin a much higher number than the TItans. I am split on whether I think the Titans will resign Jack Conklin but I think they definitely should.
QB Marcus Mariota took the Titans from 2-14 to three winning seasons in a row. I see it unlikely that the Titans bring back Marcus Mariota and it will be sad seeing him play elsewhere. Though unlikely, there are a few scenarios where Marcus Mariota could stay with the Titans. The first option would be signing a team friendly deal and becoming the backup quarterback. I think this is not completely impossible because Ryan Tannehill has a long history of injuries and there is no telling if he will pick up where he left off last season. The second, more interesting scenario, would be Mariota signing a similar deal and playing quarterback among other positions. This role would be similar to Saints QB, Taysom Hill. Hill plays QB, RB, WR, TE and everything in between and with Mariota's speed, he could do the same. If neither option happens, Mariota could end up anywhere as a starter or a backup.
Out of the remaining free agents, I think the Titans will resign:
TE Anthony Firkser
TE MyCole Pruitt
CB LeShaun Sims
CB Tye Smith
CB Tramaine Brock
DT Austin Johnson
LB Kamalei Correa
LB Daren Bates
RT Dennis Kelly
I think the team will resign Firkser and Pruitt to keep their Tight ends together with the uncertainty of Delanie Walker. Sims, Smith, and Brock, all played this season and I think all will come back. One or more CB's may not be signed if Logan Ryan is retained though it could go either way. Austin Johnson has not done a whole lot recently though I think the Titans still have hope that he will improve. LB Kamalei Correa was extremely important to the TItans in the playoffs and LB Darren Bates has been very important on special teams. Finally, I think Dennis Kelly will undoubtedly be resigned, especially if Conklin is not.
I think the Titans will not resign:
WR Cameron Batson
LB Wesley Woodyard
LB Reggie Gilbert
RG Kevin Pamphile
CB Chris Milton
RB David Fluellen
WR Tajae Sharpe
WR Darius Jennings
I hope the Titans resign Cameron Batson, Wesley Woodyard, and Reggie Gilbert though I do not think it is likely. Batson is a speedy receiver coming off a bad injury. Woodyard is 33 years old which makes me question whether he will be resigned. I love Woodyard though I am not sure Jon Robinson will resign him after he let go both Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan last offseason. Gilbert was acquired by the Titans in August in exchange for a 7th round pick. Gilbert did not play much but when he did, he was a good pass rusher and he is just 26 years old. Pamphile, Milton, and Fluellen all dealt with injuries and were little value to the Titans. I am on the fence about Tajae Sharpe because I have no idea what the team thinks about him but I think he has been underwhelming. I feel similar about Jennings but I doubt he will be brought back after he was replaced at Kick Returner by Kalif Raymond.
he Titans have $51.4 in cap room before cutting anyone. They are in the top half of the league in cap room and much of it will go toward upcoming free agents. Jon Robinson has a lot of decisions to make and it will be interesting to see how everything unfolds.