Tennessee Titans could still trade veteran players this offseason

Derrick Henry (22) Tennessee Titans
Derrick Henry (22) Tennessee Titans / Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean-USA TODAY

The 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone, which means that for the most part, every team's starting roster is set heading into September.

The Tennessee Titans themselves got good value for their picks but failed to address some needs, particularly at wide receiver. Many will debate on whether the overall draft class was a good or bad one for the team, but the one thing that is pretty clear is that they are not going to make very much noise in 2023.

There is nowhere near enough star power among the receiver core, too many moving parts along the offensive line, and a starting quarterback who is going to be replaced sooner rather than later. The Titans' moves up to this point just add more fuel to the feeling that their goals and intentions are directed towards the future and not this year.

Even for the new direction they seem to be going in, the most prominent veterans in Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, and Kevin Byard remain on the team as of now. Ideally, if the Titans were to ship off one or more of them, it would have happened by now, but do not think that just because the draft has passed they are not going to do it.

Tennessee Titans could use more draft picks in 2024 to aid rebuild

Now keep in mind that the Tennessee Titans haven't done anything that clearly points to a true rebuild, but the moves they have made indicate that they are leaning in that direction. And if they are intending to go through with it, they have not set themselves up as well as they would like to.

Thanks to some regrettable trades near the end of Jon Robinson's tenure and the recent one to draft Will Levis, the Tennessee Titans are short on picks in 2024, which includes their third-rounder. They only have their picks in the first, second, and fourth rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft along with a few seventh-round picks.

Now, the silver lining is that the Tennessee Titans have a little over $100M of cap space in 2024 and that is with re-signing Jeffery Simmons. Even though they will certainly have the resources to add talent to their roster, rebuilding teams do that best through the draft since those players are younger, cheaper, and could be legitimate building blocks for the future.

We do not fully know what the Titans' offseason plans will look like next offseason, but generally, teams should prepare for rebuilds to last at least two years. As such, if they are to sign more players in next year's free agency, we should expect that to look more like this year's class rather than them splurging on high-profile, expensive guys.

So then the question becomes how the Tennessee Titans will acquire those draft picks needed to facilitate the transition to a new era, and that is where we have to revisit those tough conversations that took place before the draft.

Seeing former faces of the franchise go is never something that fans of a team (including myself) want to see, but the truth is the Tennessee Titans are not sniffing a Super Bowl this season and could really use more draft capital. Trading away their big-name veterans is the only way that they are going to do that.

Understandably, the Tennessee Titans might be having a hard time finding takers for Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry.

Tannehill is right around the mid-tier of quarterbacks in the NFL and will be 35 when the 2023 season starts. Although recent reports suggest that a Tannehill trade might actually be doable.

Henry, on the other hand, is a physical power back who will be 30 at the season's end, and he has taken a beating over the last four years with how many carries he has gotten. Despite his greatness and how accomplished he is, he is getting to the point where we legitimately have to question how much more he has left in the tank, and the only thing that trade partners care about is what he can provide right now.

Opposing teams likely would not want to give up valuable assets for players with as much uncertainty as both guys have, and the Tennessee Titans would not just want to let their best players go without getting a good return.

That is where involving next year's picks gives both the Titans and other teams more flexibility because they can compromise and make trades happen that involve conditional draft picks.

For example, I think trading Henry for a conditional third-round pick in 2024 would be fair. The conditions of the trade could be something such as the pick becoming a second-rounder if Henry gets 1500+ yards or he gets 1000+ yards and the acquiring team makes the playoffs.

And maybe the pick could be a fourth-rounder he gets under 1000 yards and the acquiring team misses the playoffs. There are other ways in which the conditions could be stated, but the bottom line is that including 2024 draft picks instead of this year's picks gives all sides involved the opportunity to reach a realistic middle ground that would not have been possible the other way around.

We will see how it unfolds, but the Tennessee Titans are in no man's land right now with the state of their roster, and Tannehill and Henry are scheduled to hit free agency next offseason. Ran Carthon has to make a decision on them somehow, and trades might be the most prudent course of action.