3 former Titans players who won’t live up to their new contracts

We hate to admit it, but letting these guys walk may have been the smart move.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Part of what makes NFL free agency so fun is that teams – for better or for worse – can totally overhaul how their team looks on a year-by-year basis.

That's especially true for the Titans this offseason, as the team looks to start reshaping their roster how new head coach Brian Callahan, the former offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, wants it to look.

Not only are franchise icons like Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill gone, but there are more than a couple staples of the Mike Vrable era that won't be suiting up in Nashville next fall. Some of them were easier to tolerate than others, but these are the three former Titans players who won't live up to the contracts they signed when free agency opened.

3 former Titans players who won’t live up to their new contracts

1. Denico Autry

Autry's one of two Titans players who cashed in big time with the Texans this offseason. Autry's been a good player, especially with Tennessee, and he picked a hell of a year to go into free agency – for the first time in his career, he had double-digit sacks in 2023.

He'll be 34 next season, and it's not like 34-year-old pass rushers are a lock to even replicate their previous season's performance. He's only on the Titans' books for two years, but still - at $10 million a season, he's going to have to get close to his 11.5 sack total from this past year if he wants to see that contract out to the end.

2. Azeez Al-Shaair

You could more or less just copy and paste all of Autry's paragraph from above into Al-Shaair's and have it make sense. The Texans were, apparently, convinced that the Titans have no idea what they'll be missing with their former defensive core.

Al-Shaair doesn't have as many age concerns as Autry – he's only 26 – but three-years and $34 million for a linebacker who's only been a full-time starter in one of his five pro seasons is a bit of a dice roll. Like Autry, he's coming off a career year, but he only has 100 tackles in two of his five seasons, and he's certainly not a pass-rushing threat (four career sacks).

3. Derrick Henry

This one, admittedly, is more just wishful thinking. Henry definitely deserved to end his career on a team that was on the same winning timeline as he was, but it's hard to watch the two sides go their separate ways and then agree to basically the same terms elsewhere.

Plus, if the Titans have a Texans-esque surprising run into the playoffs next year, there's a nonzero chance that they have to play against him in the early rounds. He's still plenty effective – at 30, he's coming off back-to-back 1,000+ yard seasons – but he has over 2,000 rushes under his belt and is on the Ravens' book for two seasons.

Father time comes for everyone, and as sad as it'll be to watch that happen to Henry, he's probably due for the start of a regression soon.