Franchise tagging Harold Landry is the wrong move for Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tennessee Titans can use the franchise tag to extend negotiations with Harold Landry, but they need to be careful.

If this is somehow the first article of mine that you have read, then let me make sure you have the right context for this. I have always believed that Harold Landry was capable of being a player who has double-digit sacks on a yearly basis.

In fact, I will always contend that Tennessee Titans should consider this his second double-digit sack season given the fact that he actually had 10 sacks in 2019 when you include the playoffs and that he had a would-be tenth sack taken away during the regular season by a bad DPI call in Cleveland.

Anyway, the point is that there is no one who feels more strongly about Harold Landry’s potential to be a top-10 EDGE than I do.

Why the Tennessee Titans have to be very careful with the franchise tag

If the Titans use the franchise tag on Harold Landry, they are guaranteeing that they will bring back the same wave of destruction that put up nine sacks against the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs.

Keeping Landry is the most important thing, and the tag is a tool to extend the window for negotiations on a long-term deal. In fact, the only other time that Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson used the franchise tag was when he placed it on Derrick Henry before they agreed on a long-term deal weeks later.

The problem is that the franchise tag for Harold Landry would mean that he would be on a 1-year, $17.5 million contract with all $17.5 million of that money counting against the salary cap.

This isn’t a deal-breaker for the Titans, but it would mean that they would have to do quite a bit of manipulation to their current roster. That could just mean restructures, but it could also mean cuts or trades which would ultimately hurt this team.

The ideal outcome is a long-term deal that makes Harold Landry the highest-paid guy in his meeting room, but with a cap hit that gets larger as the salary cap rises. If they can find a way to structure a deal that creates a $10 million cap hit in 2022 instead of $17.5 million, that could make a huge difference.

Here is a list of players who made $7.5 million or less last season:

-A.J. Green

-Darren Waller

-Jack Doyle

-Cameron Brate

-Mo Allie-Cox

-Maxx Williams

-Ben Jones (!)

-Alex Mack

-Kevin Zeitler

-Trai Turner

If the Tennessee Titans can use the extra cap space created by a long-term deal and a player similar to any of the players above, then it would go a long way towards maintaining the standard they have set and improving their chances at a Super Bowl run.

The worst outcome is losing Harold Landry, so that has to be the top priority. However, letting him play the season on the franchise tag would just push this problem to 2023 and also cause an issue in 2022. Jon Robinson and the Tennessee Titans front office have to figure out a way around this.