Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mike Moraitis

5 Titans who could get extended or restructured in 2023

With the Tennessee Titans being strapped for cash this offseason, the team must explore every avenue possible to free up money, with two of those potential avenues coming via contract extensions or restructures.

If things had gone better in the 2020 draft, the Titans would be staring down the barrel of having to extend some of those players, but only Kristian Fulton and Chris Jackson are left from that group, and Jackson is barely hanging on.

Buy Titans Tickets

Fulton has been Tennessee’s best cornerback for a few years now, but chances are the Titans will let him play out the final year of his deal in 2023, as the LSU product has failed to prove he can stay healthy for an entire season.

While Fulton won’t be extended this offseason, there are five veterans who do have a realistic shot to be extended or restructured. Let’s take a look at who they are and why Tennessee would take such an approach.

DL Jeffery Simmons

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Simmons enters the final year of his rookie deal in 2023 and has made it clear he’d prefer to have a new contract in place before taking the field.

And Tennessee would be wise to oblige. Simmons is a franchise cornerstone and one of the best at his position in the NFL. And, after trading away A.J. Brown, losing Simmons would be even more disastrous than normal.

Thankfully, things seem to be moving in a positive direction on the extension front, as Simmons recently revealed he feels “very confident” in getting something done after speaking with new general manager, Ran Carthon.

“We had a great talk, and him saying I am one of his priorities, that meant a lot,” Simmons said. “I feel like he is the person for this job. There’s not much I can say especially with talk of the contract — my (agent) is handling that. But whenever we get to that point — I feel very confident that I’ll be here in Tennessee, and I want to be in Tennessee. So, we’ll see how that goes.”

Spotrac estimates that Simmons will receive a four-year, $86.2 million deal, which works out to an annual average of $21.5 million, a salary that would rank as the second-highest at the position.

Not only do I think the Titans get something done with Simmons, I think the new deal will come with a low cap hit in Year 1 in 2024, giving Tennessee even more wiggle room for an offseason in which the team will be loaded with cap space (about $90 million, per Spotrac).

RB Derrick Henry

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Despite many experts writing his obituary prior to 2023, Henry showed he still has plenty left in the tank after finishing second in rushing yards and posting career-high receiving totals, all with a terrible team around him.

The concern, obviously, is that Henry is approaching the dreaded age of 30, when running backs typically begin to break down. That said, Henry works harder than anyone and is capable of staving-off Father Time more than most.

If the Titans are scared the wheels will come off sooner rather than later, they could convert some of Henry’s base salary to bonus money to free up cap space in 2023, or add more money to his two void years.

If they feel Henry has another year or two left in the tank, the Titans could simply opt to extend Henry to ensure one of their franchise cornerstones is around a bit longer.

Should Tennessee take the latter route, the team should work Henry’s extension out so there’s a reasonable out in 2024 and/or 2025, depending on how long they extend him.

In that case, if things go south, the Titans can part ways without much pain. The ultimate goal is Henry finishing out his career in Tennessee, but that is not guaranteed.

QB Ryan Tannehill

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Tannehill isn’t even certain to be on the team, but if he sticks the Titans should be interested in giving him an extension for a little cap relief this offseason, with the veteran signal-caller set to account for $36.6 million.

At the very least, reworking his deal via shifting base salary to bonus money should be on the table.

However, any extension has to come with an out in 2024, as the Titans shouldn’t latch themselves to the veteran after he has shown he doesn’t have what it takes to get this team over the hump to a Super Bowl.

Extending Tannehill not only gives some cap relief right away, but Tennessee would then have an insurance policy for 2024 if the team can’t find its quarterback of the future.

DL Denico Autry

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Autry is somewhat flying under the radar in terms of an extension, but he’s someone who Tennessee should at least be thinking about in 2023.

Autry has no doubt earned himself a raise during his time in Nashville after proving to be an absolute steal at $7.1 million annually.

Since coming aboard as a free agent in 2021, Autry has made a major impact on the defense, and an argument can be made that he’s as important to this unit as Simmons.

That said, Autry is also 32 years old, so extending him beyond 2023 comes with some risk, as there’s no telling how long into his 30’s he’ll be able to keep this up.

If Tennessee is confident in Autry, they lock him up for another year or two. However, thanks to his age, I think the veteran plays out the final year of his deal and Tennessee re-assesses in 2024.

The Titans could also opt to restructure his deal, with there being a little wiggle room to convert some of his base salary into a bonus.

S Kevin Byard

Syndication: The Tennessean

If the Titans extend Byard, the No. 1 goal in doing so will be to lower his cap hit in 2023. As things currently stand, Byard is set to account for $19.6 million against the cap this season.

Byard will turn 30 this year, so he could have a handful of good years left in him, making him a realistic candidate for an extension.

However, I think Tennessee restructures and then re-considers an extension in 2024, when Byard will be on the final year of his current deal.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.