Will Tennessee Titans create more cap space this offseason?

Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Tennessean)
Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Tennessean) /

The Tennessee Titans have made a number of free agency moves this offseason, but none that have been flashy.

They have all been low-radar, low-risk — but potentially highly effective — maneuvers, and as such, have not taken up much of the team’s cap space.

However, while it is a conservative approach, making those types of moves doesn’t mean that the Tennessee Titans are finished with free agency.

While most of their needs especially on offense will be addressed in the draft, there are other areas where the Tennessee Titans do not NEED help, but could certainly use it.

According to their Over The Cap page, they have $6,619,603 in remaining cap space, which at most, is enough to sign their upcoming draft class and one low-end free agent. Obviously, they cannot bank on that.

But should they choose to make other moves this offseason, they undoubtedly have the means to make it happen.

Tennessee Titans have yet to restructure a single contract this offseason

Now, being able to restructure contracts is not something that Ran Carthon and the Tennessee Titans will be able to bank on either since that requires the player or players in question to agree to it. That being said, it would be a shock if the team cannot create at least a few million dollars from some of those contracts if they really want to.

What better player is there to approach about such a thing than Ryan Tannehill?

Anyone who follows the Tennessee Titans will agree that the $36.6M he is set to make in 2023 is too much, and a move such as lowering his cap hit this year while also giving him a one or two-year extension could benefit both sides.

While everyone knows the importance of Derrick Henry to the Titans, his projected $16,367,647 cap hit for 2023 is quite a lot for a power running back who will be 30 at the season’s end. Like Tannehill’s situation, an extension could be sensible for each party here.

Something else to factor in is that even though the exact details have yet to come out, Jeffery Simmons’ recently signed contract extension could help create more cap space this year since he will technically be playing on his fifth-year option. If that does happen, it will probably save the team $2M-$3M in 2023.

Now, the Titans’ options to create more cap space are not just limited to the options above, but the next few would be more difficult for everyone involved.

We know that they have approached Kevin Byard about taking a pay cut and that he refused to do so. There is no reason for Byard to do it any differently, as he has been the heart and soul of the team for several years now and has gone out of his way multiple times in the past to help the Titans save money.

Yes, his cap hit for this year and next year might be quite massive for what will be a 30-year-old safety, but with him being so instinctive on the field and never missing a game in his career, he should hold up just fine for the next two-three years.

And unless it is after June 1 as part of a full-scale rebuild — which even then would be a very questionable move — Byard knows the Titans would be stupid to just cut him. They absolutely should not expect him to budge on the pay cut and if they want to try and lower his cap hit for the next two seasons, an extension must be part of that.

Harold Landry could also be approached about a possible restructure, but considering that he is coming off of an ACL tear, any alteration of his contract would almost surely have to be an unequivocal benefit to him. His cap hit for 2024-26 is already higher than it is in 2023, so it is unlikely that either side is interested in making any changes right now.

Restructuring with Denico Autry actually could make sense, as he is in the final year of his contract and he would probably be open to an extension in a city where he has done extremely well. But considering that he is going to be 33 when the season starts, the Titans would have to be careful because adding anything more than one year to his deal would not be preferred.

Now the next question becomes what the Tennessee Titans would do with that cap space, and just how much of it would be used in the next wave of free agency. No one player that they sign will make that much money, but there are multiple guys to consider, and signing more than one guy would require more cap space than they have now.

The wide receiver pool is really drying up and there are only a few options left, but that is undoubtedly the position for which Titans fans are most impatiently waiting to be addressed. They might take multiple in the draft, but Ran Carthon has been on record saying that they will bolster the receiver core, so rest assured that one way or another they will do something.

The offensive line is still not fully fixed, and while that is sure to be addressed early in the draft, the Titans would be wise to consider their options on the open market. You can never have too many bodies in the trenches, and adding more depth could only help fix their disastrous situation from 2022.

Depth at EDGE and safety are the next areas that the Titans could consider even though they don’t have an immediate need at either position. There are still several guys available at both positions and adding just one at either would be a good thing.

Who knows what the plans of Carthon and the rest of the front office are, but the Titans’ roster needs help pretty much everywhere. They have made just about zero commitments to anyone outside of Simmons, so any player who genuinely wants to stay but fears he might get cut or traded might be motivated to restructure their contract.

Based on the last few offseasons, it would seem more a matter of “when” rather than “if” that will happen, but until it does it will remain a question of if and only if.