Free agency butterfly effect: What could happen if the Tennessee Titans don’t re-sign Jack Conklin
By Will Lomas
Free agent fallout
Let’s assume that Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry get re-signed for around $35 million combined per year. That is about half of what they have to spend this offseason after projected cuts and without some pretty easy restructures.
So, with a hole at right tackle and $35 million to spend the new needs board probably looks like this:
5. WR (speed and potentially someone that can start in 2021)
I think I can solve two of those in free agency with the $35 million the Titans have to spend.
EDGE: Jadeveon Clowney
Stop me if you have heard this one before, but Jadeveon Clowney and the Tennessee Titans are destined to be together.
Clowney is a physical EDGE who isn’t fantastic rushing the passer, but makes up for it with his ability to make splash plays in the run game without really giving up his gap integrity or responsibilities.
While Clowney dealt with nagging injuries in 2019, his final season with Vrabel and the 2018 season were both quietly exceptional. This is a list of players at any position with 30 or more TFLs over that time:
1. Chandler Jones: 41
2. Aaron Donald: 40
3. Jadeveon Clowney: 37
4. Cameron Jordan: 35
5. Calais Campbell: 34
6. Danielle Hunter: 33
7. Von Miller: 31
I know this idea of a $20 million deal has been floated around, but I just don’t think Clowney will get that much on the open market. He is an excellent run defender and he can get you around 9 sacks per year with what he has historically shown, but how many teams are lining up to pay someone like that big money?
Moreover, Clowney said that he wanted to go to a contender and there aren’t many that have the need or the cap space to sign him at that number.
Signing somewhere in the $16.5 million per year range seems right and that is real money in Tennessee without state income tax eating a huge portion of it.
WR: Amari Cooper
Alright. Hold on and hear me out. If he hits the market, I can guarantee you that Amari Cooper is going to be someone that the Tennessee Titans look at hard.
We know that there is one big thing the Titans need/love to see in a player they are about to sign: a connection to the current coaching staff.
Cooper played under WR coach Rob Moore and TE coach (then OC) Todd Downing with the Oakland Raiders, so he definitely qualifies.
There is also the rumor and conjecture that the Tennessee Titans wanted to trade for Amari Cooper last year at the deadline, knowing that his deal was going to come up soon. I personally believe they would have made the move and it would have cost a 2019 2nd round pick or a 2020 1st round pick, but the Cowboys offered a 2019 1st and the Titans didn’t match.
Right now Julio Jones is the NFL’s highest paid receiver per year with $22 million. I don’t think Cooper tops that, but with Dallas likely to tag Dak Prescott unless they significantly up their offer, it seems like they are going to be stuck in a situation where they can’t keep Cooper.
If the Titans can restructure some deals or delay some of his per year salary down the road, and find close to $20 million to spend on him this year then I think they would at the very least make an offer to Cooper.
For a slightly more realistic name, I guess you can fill in a backup running back like Lamar Miller who would fill a need for the Titans and who has a connection to the team but if you are going to lose Jack Conklin you better have a plan with what you are going to do with that money and you better find someone who can tangibly upgrade your team.