3 free agents Titans were wise to avoid

The Titans have spent a bunch of money this offseason, but luckily not on these three guys.

NFC Championship - Detroit Lions v San Francisco 49ers
NFC Championship - Detroit Lions v San Francisco 49ers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

For better or for worse, it's hard to say the Titans haven't played a major role in this year's free agency window. Guys like Calvin Ridley, Tony Pollard, Lloyd Cushenberry, Chidobe Awuzie, and Kenneth Murray will all be suiting up for Tennessee next season, all on handsome raises. With the team making a concentrated effort to quickly transition from the Mike Vrable era to the Brian Callahan era, the Titans are wasting no time churning over their roster and establishing an entirely different identity. And while free agent spending is always a mixed bag – at least one of those contracts is going to age poorly, book it – there's always some amount of credit due for teams that give it a try. And the Titans certainly haven't been the only team to hand out big new contracts – here are three guys that Tennessee was wise to avoid while on their mid-March spending spree.

3 free agents Titans were wise to avoid

1. Arik Armstead, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars

Deal: Three-years, $43.5 million

The AFC South has had quite the moment this year in free agency. The Jaguars lost Ridley to the Titans, who lost a bunch of their defensive core to the Texans, who have had plenty of major roster overhauls of their own. And the Colts just brought everyone back. While it would have been tempting to replace Denico Autry with a pass-rusher of Armstead's caliber, the Titans were probably smart to avoid giving $43 million to a 30-year old with over 5,000 snaps in his career. Arden Key and Harold Landry still have plenty of juice left, and there will be more than a few elite edge prospects available to them in both the first and second round. Getting another guy in the room wouldn't hurt, but they'll happily let the Jaguars pay Armstead that kind of money.

2. Gardner Minshew, QB, Las Vegas Raiders

Deal: Two-years, $25 million

It's not like Will Levis' job is in any sort of jeopardy yet, but Minshew is one of those elusive backup QBs that gets paid like a borderline starter. There's very much a world – not one that we want to live in, but it exists nonetheless – where a team like the Titans, who don't quite know what they have in their franchise QB yet, see what Minshew did for the Colts last season and decide to value that level of "dependability." This isn't to say that's a good idea – it's not – but NFL contracts aren't always good ideas. Bringing in Mason Rudolph for a fraction of that cost makes all the sense of the world, even if his ceiling isn't quite as high as Minshews. If Levis goes down for most/all of the season, it's not like the Titans would make any legitimate run, so there's no need to pay mid-level QB money for an eight win season.

3. Denico Autry, DE, Houston Texans

Deal: Two-years, $20 million

Not working harder to retain Autry may be a tough swallow in the immediate, but this move feels like one that'll age well with time. Autry was a good player for the Titans – his 2022 season especially was a blast, and he either tied or surpassed his career-best sack numbers in each of the last three seasons. But Tennessee needed to get younger, and Autry – who will be 34 by the time next season starts – no longer fits into what the team is trying to do over the next half decade. And while he appeared in all 17 games last season, injuries have been a thing with him over the past few years, which isn't something you love hearing about a 34-year old pass rusher. It's usually better to cut bait a few years too early than a few years too late, and it seems like Autry's likely to be the next Titans example of that.