I can't remember another offseason where the Titans were in that kind of situation, and it is going to be interesting to see what they do with that money.
The Tennessee Titans have a reputation for being cheap, and while I disagree, there has been a lot of talk in the local Nashville media pointing to the idea of the Titans trying to avoid overspending. There is some truth to that, but if the Titans sit on their hands and do nothing this offseason, they are going to be making the same mistake that the Indianapolis Colts have been making for the better part of a decade.
Ran Carthon and Brian Callahan have a young quarterback on a cheap contract, and it is up to them to weaponize the money they have to make this team better. There is a real scenario where the Titans have 11 new starters on offense and defense next year, and whether that is a good thing or a bad thing depends on their talent evaluation.
The first step in that evaluation process will be to look at the Tennessee Titans players who are set to hit free agency and decide which ones they need to keep and which ones to cut bait on.
PFF had an article where Brad Spielberger picked an impending free agent from each team that the front office can't afford to lose. With Derrick Henry and Denico Autry both set to hit the market, I was surprised to see that he actually chose Azeez Al-Shaair for the Titans.
Will Azeez Al-Shaair be a Tennessee Titans next year
While I wouldn't call him a "must-have" player on the roster, the Tennessee Titans did find a solid linebacker when they signed Azeez Al-Shaair. The former backup linebacker proved that he could be a full-time starter in the NFL and he was one of only a handful of Titans players that managed to play the full 17 games.
Considering that Al-Shaair was a Ran Carthon guy going back to his days with the San Francisco 49ers, it makes sense for the team to bring him back. On top of that, they don't have many other options at linebacker, especially with Mike Vrabel's favorite UDFA, Jack Gibbens, set to be a free agent as well.
This season the Titans are going to have a more aggressive defense and having linebackers who can run through running backs in pass protection is going to be important. Al-Shaair can do that and it will help keep some continuity in communication between the returning starters on the defensive line and the returning starters at corner and safety.
Given his age, don't be surprised to see the Titans try to lock Al-Shaair down with a three or four-year contract, unless he wants to try to join a defense with a higher profile in an attempt to raise his stock.
When it comes down to it, linebacker is right there with guard, tight end, and safety when it comes to positions that you don't want to be forced into spending a high draft pick on. If the Titans can keep this deal moderately cheap, then it will be a win for them because it is just one less need to fill in a draft where they are missing a third-round pick.