The Tennessee Titans have been blessed with some of the best centers in NFL history. In the NFL, there are less than a dozen Hall of Fame centers. The Titans are fortunate to have two of those players in their history in Kevin Mawae and Bruce Matthews.
It isn’t fair to compare Ben Jones to the legacy of some of the best to play the position in league history. However, what he has done during his time in Tennessee is remarkable and goes largely unnoticed.
He has played 79 of 80 games since he was signed away from the Houston Texans and during his time he has rarely had consistency around him. In fact, during his five-year run with the Titans, he has never had a full season where the same guards played beside him for all 16 games.
Despite that, the Titans have had three great rushing seasons in that time including helping Derrick Henry reach 2,000 yards in 2020.
His value goes beyond run blocking because on passing plays Jones sets the protections. That allows Ryan Tannehill to focus on the coverage and communicate with his receivers, running backs, and tight ends.
One of the best glue guys for the Tennessee Titans
In the locker room, he has made fast friends with nearly everyone and there have been several Bussin’ with the Boys episodes where Taylor Lewan has talked about how Ben Jones organizes a lot of the events that they do together as an offensive line.
Jones is still playing at a high level and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down which is why the Tennessee Titans need to sign him to an extension as soon as possible.
This season, Ben Jones is scheduled to make $7.3 million. Assuming that crowds are back this season (which all indications are that everyone is going to be at 100%) and considering the blockbuster TV deal that the NFL signed that goes into effect after 2021, the salary cap should skyrocket in 2022.
There are several Tennessee Titans who will need new deals at that point, but there should be enough money for everyone. A smart move for everyone is for Ben Jones to sign a new 3-year/$30 million deal that starts this year.
Right now the Tennessee Titans have something like $8 million in cap space, so bump up his salary for 2021, lower it to a fully guaranteed $6 million-ish for 2022, and then spike it up to a $14 million deal in 2022.
Structuring it this way gives the Titans more cap space in 2022 than a flat rate and that should help with their attempt to give Harold Landry and Anthony Firkser new deals (along with a possible Julio Jones restructure).
It is a win-win move for everyone that keeps together one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and it keeps the brains of the operation in place for another two great years.
The Tennessee Titans are finally on top of the AFC South and it seems like Ryan Tannehill has figured out how to dominate the division rivals. Now is not the time to change key elements of one of the best offenses in the NFL and Ben Jones might just be the glue holding this offense together.