By Ron Wynn
So far the moves being made by the Tennessee Titans in free agency, in particular the signing of QB Ryan Tannehill to a new deal and the one-year contract given former Atlanta Falcon Vic Beasley, aren’t getting raves from others in the NFL community. Both Pro Football Focus and USA Today have weighed in on these decisions, and neither responded in a very favorable manner. The decision to give Tannehill a four-year, $118 million dollar contract extension was deemed a question mark, even though PFF previously named him their Comeback Player of the Year. The deal includes $62 million fully guaranteed and $97 million totally guaranteed. It averages out to $29.5 million per year.
The website claims that the Titans are banking too much on his recent success and not paying enough attention to his below average stats compiled during his years with the Dolphins. Tannehill had career highs in almost every area this season, stats that PFF feels he cannot duplicate, at least consistently, over a sustained period. But Titans’ management counters that their current offensive system, which emphasizes play-action passing, is ideally suited to emphasize his strengths.
The Beasley deal is also being questioned, even though it is only for one-year for up to $12 million, $9.5 million guaranteed. The knock on this one is that while Beasley was a first-team All-Pro in 2016, he amassed 15.5 of his 37.5 total sacks with the Falcons in that one year. During the other four he had 22 total. He started 60 games for Atlanta during his five seasons there. But with the departure of Jurrell Casey, the Titans felt they needed a veteran alongside emerging star Jeffrey Simmons on the defensive line.
The Titans signed backup offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo, formerly with the Broncos and Falcons, to replace Dennis Kelly as their swing tackle. Kelly is moving to a starter position to replace Jack Conklin, who went to the Cleveland Browns in a free agency deal. In addition, former Titans wide receiver Darius Jennings and defensive lineman Austin Johnson have signed with new teams. Jennings signed with the Chargers and Johnson with the Giants. Also former Titans running back Dion Lewis signed with the Giants.
The Titans still have almost $25 million in cap space ($24, 457, 818 dollars as of Monday according to NFL.com) remaining.