3 contract decisions that will pay off for the Tennessee Titans in 2023

  • Cutting Taylor Lewan was the right decision
  • Andre Dillard should thrive in a fresh start with the Titans
  • Jeffery Simmons will be the man for years to come

Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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No. 1 Titans contract decision that will pay off: Locking up Jeffery Simmons

Asking safety Kevin Byard to take a pay cut was probably a bad move. It's true that Ran Carthon inherited the two-time Pro Bowl nod but why would you rub one of your veteran leaders the wrong way not long after taking over?

Looking back, that might have been Carthon's biggest blunder of his short stint leading the Titans' front office. Other than that, he's done a commendable job, especially when you take into account that he had someone of a limited spending budget. In fact, he didn't let the dearth of cap space give defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons a new contract.

A first-round pick in 2019, Simmons has become a fixture of the Titans' defensive line, having registered 16 sacks, one forced fumble, and 21 tackles for a loss over the last two years. The former Mississippi State Bulldog can be even better due to the return of edge defender Harold Landry III after missing the 2022 season with a torn ACL.

While paying Simmons an average salary of $23.5 million per year might seem a tad too much, general manager Ran Carthon knew giving him a top-market contract would send a positive message across the locker room: Come through for us and you'll be taken care of, even if you were brought in by the previous regime.

Maybe that's why the Titans have been hesitant to move on from Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. They know they might not be the same players they were four years ago but they still have an important role.

Again, Carthon dropped the ball when he asked Byard to take a pay cut but he (kind of) made up for it by rewarding one of the Titans' top defensive players and keeping Tannehill and Henry (for the moment).

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