It was crucial for the Tennessee Titans to land free agent WR DeAndre Hopkins to salvage their season, but the front office deserves a lot of praise for signing him without doing anything reckless.
When you look at the domino effect that happened in Tennessee as soon as the Titans signed DeAndre Hopkins, you can see why they should have been willing to outbid anyone else in the market for the All-Pro.
So it shouldn't have been any surprise to find out that that is exactly what the Tennessee Titans did. When it was all said and done, Ran Carthon and Mike Vrabel managed to land Hopkins on a 2-year/$26 million deal.
Even if he isn't a sure-fire All-Pro anymore, Hopkins is absolutely worth $13 million APY, but those numbers might be deceiving. See, when you go to Over The Cap and actually look at the structure of the contract, DeAndre Hopkins is only going to count $3.7 million against the salary cap in 2023 and $16 million in 2024.
If the worst happened, the Titans could actually cut him before the 2024 season and they would only be on the hook for $7.9 million that season.
This is a great contract that essentially boosts the Titans from one of the worst passing offenses in the league to an above-average group for the same money that they spend on backup linebackers. Then if things don't work out, they can be honest about it and move on without worrying about too much dead money.
Putting the contract in perspective for Tennessee Titans fans
Before the Hopkins signing, I believed that if Corey Davis was on the open market, the Tennessee Titans should have made him a strong offer. While the tweet below isn't exactly fair to Corey Davis because it has more to do with the deal that he signed three years ago than it has to do with him as a player, it is interesting to look at the Hopkins deal through this lens.
While I don't know if Ran Carthon and Mike Vrabel were elite strategists or just lucky to have DeAndre Hopkins fall into their laps, everyone agrees that the offseason has to be looked at completely differently now.
Over the last seven years, the Tennessee Titans have been the best and most consistent team in the AFC South. This move allows them to maintain their foothold atop the division with proven veterans like Hopkins, Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, and Kevin Byard, while the structure of the contract still leaves cap space to help support the next generation of talent in guys like Jeffery Simmons, Chig Okonkwo, Harold Landry, Treylon Burks, Peter Skoronski, Roger McCreary, and Arden Key.