The 2022 NFL season is nearly over and it is one that Tennessee Titans fans can’t wait to have behind them.
Going back to as early as the 0-2 start, fans have had a bad feeling about this team. A perfect storm of a historic number of injuries (again), Todd Downing, and a horrific offensive line (coach) turned the Tennessee Titans from the AFC’s #1 seed to a team that is picking 11th in the 2023 NFL Draft.
As you might expect, the first order of business in Tennessee has nothing to do with the quarterback position or adding more weapons, it is all about rebuilding the offensive line.
A good OC and OL coach could come in and make life so much easier for the Tennessee Titans, but I’m not sure that Mike Vrabel has ever shown us that he knows what those look like. Matt LaFleur was someone he stumbled into and Arthur Smith had survived four different head coaches.
I hope I am wrong, but when it comes to finding a good OC and OL coach I am in “I’ll believe it when I see it” mode. That means that Ran Carthon would be smart to find players who are finished products instead of trying to have someone actually develop talent on the offensive side of the ball.
That is why it is so essential that the Tennessee Titans make the right choice with Nate Davis.
What should the Tennessee Titans do with their offensive line?
I will continue to say this, but just so we are clear, Corey Levin and Dillon Radunz have exceeded expectations while on the field. Not only that, but they have played multiple positions for the Tennessee Titans and deserve a real chance to compete for every open position on the line.
Assuming that Ben Jones retires this offseason, there is only one player under contract who should be guaranteed a starting spot next year and that is Nicholas Petit-Frere.
The Tennessee Titans’ coaching decision will decide whether he plays left tackle or right tackle next year, but either way, you still need a starting tackle, a center, and two guards.
With the table set, let’s talk about what it is going to cost to bring back Nate Davis.
According to PFF’s free agency projections, Davis should be in line for a 3-year/$21 million deal ($7 million AAV). Similarly, Spotrac projects that Davis should get a 3-year/$22.4 million deal ($7.4 AAV).
The fact that the numbers are so similar makes me think that they agree that something close to $7 million is a fair deal. Given the tax situation in Tennessee, let’s say that Nate Davis signs a multi-year contract with the Titans for $7 million AAV.
Would that be the right move for the Tennessee Titans?
He has missed multiple games in 3 of his 4 years in the NFL, and he has been just slightly above average over the last two seasons. Is that a player that is worth re-signing, or should the Tennessee Titans spend that money elsewhere?
I would argue that the Titans should re-sign Davis at that price if they can.
It is hard to address four offensive line spots in one season, and bringing back Nate Davis would make that task easier. The Titans’ coaches know what he can bring and they have seen him play at a high level in the past (he should have been a Pro Bowler in 2020).
The deal also isn’t bad when you zoom out a little bit $7 million AAV would make Davis the 29th highest-paid iOL in the NFL and the 13th highest-paid right guard in the NFL. In fact, that feels like a bargain if the Titans can keep him healthier going forward.
In an ideal world, Dillon Radunz and/or Corey Levin win a starting spot on the offensive line. That would allow the Titans to take a bigger swing on a free agent offensive tackle because that would mean that multiple starters would be on their rookie contracts, and their one current veteran would be on a bargain of a deal if he can stay healthy.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and right now the Tennessee Titans need to make sure that they keep their young talent on the roster.