The Tennessee Titans season came to a screeching halt at home on Saturday against the Cincinnati Bengals, losing 19-16 in painful fashion. Heading into the offseason, there is only one certainty.
Winning the AFC South has become the new standard for this team. Still, for a team that had the top seed in the AFC and made offseason moves to get themselves over the hump, there is no denying that failing to win a playoff game is a major disappointment.
Looking ahead to the offseason, the organization is at a serious crossroads. The majority of the team’s core is built to win now, but multiple key areas — most notably the play of Ryan Tannehill — held them back from reaching their potential this season.
There is no chance that a full-blown rebuild is on the horizon with so much talent on the roster, but the Titans are going to have to consider how they can avoid a repeat of the last two playoff losses where nothing on offense has worked (running or passing).
No matter how those conversations go, one decision is all but made at this point. Well, really three decisions should be written in stone, but it all falls under the banner of securing the future.
Tennessee Titans must pay three big stars this offseason
AJ Brown and Jeffery Simmons are all eligible for contract extensions this offseason. Before that, the Titans are going to have to figure out what deal makes sense with impending free agent Harold Landry.
All three are incredible players, and their combination of talent, age, and production make them cornerstone pieces for the Tennessee Titans.
This can especially be said for the former two, who have always been forces and continued to show signs of improvement since entering the league in 2019.
You could say that Simmons has already reached elite status among the players at his position, and if Brown is not there yet, he is ever so close to realizing it. You can absolutely bet that they will be rewarded with lucrative contracts, it is just a matter of when it happens.
Things get a little complicated with Landry, who has had a different career path than the other two. While the younger players were put in a position to showcase their talent Harold Landry was doing the dirty work playing nearly 100% of the snaps whether the team needed him at EDGE, off-ball linebacker, or even slot cornerback at times.
That being said, the franchise tag is an option, and Jon Robinson always has it as a last resort in case he needs more time to negotiate as they did with Derrick Henry a few years ago. Secondly, the Titans would be hard-pressed not to pay him.
Bonafide edge rushers are really hard to find in the NFL nowadays, and with his age of 25 and progression as a player, he has likely yet to see his peak. The players also feel strongly about wanting Landry to return, as Kevin Byard himself said that he would go out of his way to make it happen if push came to shove.
Most importantly, the precedent that the Titans would set by bringing these three players back would be what is needed from an NFL organization. They would be showing what players, coaches, and executives crave in a business: commitment to the people who have made them successful.
Yes, oftentimes it makes sense to part with important and beloved players if they do not fit the direction of the team anymore, but in order to get people to want to work for you, you also have to show that you appreciate the work that your best performers have done. This is certainly the case for Brown, Simmons, and Landry, who certainly are infinitely more valuable than they are replaceable.
If the Tennessee Titans want to prove that they are committed to winning, they need to heavily invest in the players who will help them win the most. This is especially the case if they want to retool for a year or two, yet still, keep the majority of their core in their place.
Pay Brown, Simmons, and Landry this offseason, and no price is too high for those franchise cornerstones.