Longest-tenured Titans player to carry team's largest cap hit in 2024

The Tennessee Titans' longest-tenured player is as important as ever to their success in 2024
Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans
Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

The Tennessee Titans were one of the most active teams in the NFL this offseason. General manager Ran Carthon wasn't afraid to spend money on high-end talent.

L'Jarius Sneed, Calvin Ridley, and Lloyd Cushenberry were arguably the best players at their positions to change teams this offseason. The Titans managed to acquire those talents without overpaying in trade or salary-based compensation.

None of those players are carrying the Titans' largest cap charge in 2024. That title belongs to outside linebacker Harold Landry, who has a cap hit of $23.8 million, according to OverTheCap.

Landry is one of the best draft picks of the Jon Robinson era, and he capitalized on his stellar 2021 season by signing a five-year, $87.5 million contract. Unfortunately, Landry tore his ACL days before the start of the 2022 season, an injury that forced him to miss the entire year.

Players usually take two seasons to get back to 100% after tearing an ACL, so there were questions about whether or not Landry would be able to bounce back in 2023. Fortunately for the Titans and for Landry, he turned into one of their best stories of the 2023 campaign.

Landry posted double-digit sacks for a second consecutive season. He finished strong with 5.0 sacks in the final five games of the season. From a bigger perspective, he passed Kyle Vanden Bosch to become 7th on the Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers all-time sack list.

Despite his success, it is fair to ask whether he deserves the contract that he has.

The best way to figure that out is to look at comparable players at his position and see whether he is making more or less.

Over the last five years, Landry has racked up 37 sacks and 50 TFLs. There are only 15 EDGEs who have been more productive than Landry over that stretch. Landry is making $23.8 million this year, but over the life of the contract, he is making $17.5 million annually.

Currently, that means Landry is the 16th-highest paid EDGE, which means that he is getting paid exactly as he should.

However, that ignores a few key pieces of information. Despite tearing his ACL, Landry has played in every game since he took over for Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan as a starting EDGE. Injuries haven't been an issue for Landry, and there are only three EDGEs who have been more productive than Landry in fewer games (Danielle Hunter, Za'Darius Smith, and Micah Parsons).

Landry is also the sixth youngest EDGE on the list of players with 37+ sacks and 50+ TFLs (Maxx Crosby, Nick Bosa, Brian Burns, Josh Allen, and Micah Parsons).

All things considered, I'm not sure if I would call Landry a steal, but you aren't going to find a better starter at EDGE at a better price unless it is a player on a rookie contract.

While it is never a good time to have an ACL injury, it was great that Landry's injury didn't happen last season. With Denico Autry gone, this team is going to have to find more production rushing the passer from somewhere this season.

A healthy Landry should help tremendously. Dennard Wilson's aggressive defense should give the linebackers and cornerbacks a chance to contribute as pass rushers as well.

Remembering that Landry is still very young, he could be in line for an extension or a reworked contract next offseason. If the Titans want to maximize their spending potential to take advantage of Will Levis' rookie contract, a revamped deal could make sense.

Landry is the longest-tenured player on the roster, but he still has a whole career ahead of him. The Titans should be thrilled to have him on such a reasonable contract for the next three years, and this is going to be a great season to remind everyone of just how dangerous Landry can be.