Big Titans nugget in the J.J. Watt sweepstakes
Mike Vrabel and Jon Robinson might have wanted J.J. Watt, but the Tennessee Titans will have to settle for another big-ticket player in free agency.
J.J. Watt gets called an EDGE by some and a defensive tackle by others, but everyone agrees that he is a front-line player whose primary job is to get to the quarterback. That is important to remember because we are trying to piece together the Tennessee Titans offseason plans.
The Titans admitted they wanted Watt in free agency and it turns out that they were willing to spend to get him.
Apparently, the Tennessee Titans were willing to make an offer very similar to what the Arizona Cardinals offered according to John Gambadoro.
In case you missed it, Watt’s deal was a 2-year/$31 million contract, in other words, $15.5 million AAV.
Putting this all together, it gives us a reference point on what the Titans are willing to spend on free agent pass rush help this offseason.
Looking at the top guys on the market, here are the premier pass rushing threats this year in order of their sack total over the last two seasons:
1. Shaq Barrett, 27.5 sacks
2. Von Miller, 22.5 sacks (if he is cut)
3. Bud Dupree, 19.5 sacks
4. Trey Hendrickson, 18 sacks
5. Yannick Ngakoue, 16 sacks
6. Matt Judon, 15.5 sacks
Everyone else scheduled to hit free agency has fewer sacks over the last two seasons than Harold Landry. Now I think Landry is great and I don’t think there is any problem with viewing him as the EDGE1 on the Titans roster, but for the people wanting a blue-chip player who is a clear upgrade over Landry as a pass rusher, that is your list for the guys who have actually done it.
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The free agency market for EDGEs is always wild, but if we accept that the Titans are willing to spend at or near $15 million per year on a new EDGE, which players might accept?
Spotrac uses recent contracts and production to figure out “market value” for players and here is what each of those players should make according to that. (AAV)
1. Shaq Barrett, $19.7 million
2. Von Miller, $10.3 million
3, Bud Dupree, $18.2 million
4. Trey Hendrickson, $10.3 million
5. Yannick Ngakoue, $15.6 million
6. Matt Judon, $15.6 million
That means that if you narrow the list down, it really looks like Von Miller (if cut), Trey Hendrickson, Yannick Ngakoue, and Matt Judon are going to be well within the Titans price range this offseason.
Are those guys worth it? Do they fit the scheme? Will tax breaks help wiggle them up closer to Shaq Barrett/Bud Dupree territory? I don’t know, but it looks like the Titans are going to be willing to spend the money for any of the big names this offseason.
Oh and don’t forget there might be a spike in the salary cap that no one is talking about.