Can the two make a contract work?
This is the rub. While it makes sense for both sides, can the Titans and Clowney come away with a deal that makes sense for everyone?
On paper the Titans can give Clowney a deal like Trey Flowers got last offseason which was 5 years, $90 million, but with Jack Conklin and Ryan Tannehill both needing contracts this offseason it is going to get tight unless they can push some of that money towards the back end of the deal.
While that always makes GMs uncomfortable, the fact is that Clowney isn’t a guy whose traits should diminish over time. He wins with power and technique, not with pure speed which tends to fade later in a career.
PFF predicts a 5 year, $105 million deal. If the Titans can find a way to trim that down to closer to the $18 million per year that Flowers got, then with some restructures and cuts they should be fine.
The subtle thing about all this, is getting a deal done with Ryan Tannehill is key so that they can use their tags correctly. If the Titans transition tag Derrick Henry and franchise tag Jack Conklin (or give him something similar per year) they will likely end up with $22 million in cap space for 2020 with close to $10 million worth of restructures on the table.
That gives them just enough wiggle room to make a big deal like this and make sure they have the depth they need. But the more that Clowney helps the Titans out, the better this team will be and the more it would help him achieve his goal of playing for a contender (while also getting paid millions and millions per year).