2. Which contracts need to get restructured now?
Cuts are hard, but restructures are always easier to discuss. When you restructure, the team loses the option to cut a player while the player loses the option to gain the most money possible on their deal.
However, if you look at it differently the team gains cap space and the player gains job security in a league that isn’t always faithful year to year. Looking at this optimistically, the question isn’t “How do I bleed these players of as much money as I can?”, instead the question is, “How can I meet these players in the middle?”
To that end, these are the contracts that I would restructure and what changes I would make:
1. Daquan Jones, DL: $2 million cap addition, long term need filled
-Jones had his best year last year, but how many times have we seen run-stuffing DTs get paid in free agency? After this season he is going to be 30 years old and free agency is no place for a 30-year-old DT to be. My proposal is that the Titans take the deal he is on now (1 year, $8.3 million, but only $1.3 million GTD) and turn it into a 2-year, $6 million deal fully guaranteed.
So, Jones has an AAV of $3 million per year, but it is all guaranteed. That money is still in line with other respected DTs like Marcell Dareus, Snacks Harrison, and Denico Autry and in all likelihood, it doubles what Jones would have made on his previous contract while saving
-Lewan and Byard combine for a $28 million hit in 2021, but they only have about $9.6 of that in guarantees between the two of them. Let’s say you meet them in the middle and reduce their cap room at the same rate you increase their guarantees for 2021 and you thrown in a no-trade clause.
A move like that would save the Titans somewhere between $7-9 million in cap space in 2021 and it would benefit both sides without any long term ramifications.
-This is separate because I think the option is there to cut either one of these players if they won’t take a pay cut even though I really don’t think that is best for anyone. Best case scenario, the Titans can split the difference with Jones and Butler and keep everyone happy with more GTD money.
Results: $17.5 million more in cap space in 2021
-If all of that goes perfectly the Titans would end up with about $46.8 million in cap space which would be huge and that isn’t even counting any rollover cap space from 2020. Even if it doesn’t go perfectly then it still can get you somewhere in the ballpark of that number without damaging any flexibility in the long run.