If the Titans rebuild this offseason, what may that appear to be?

The Titans may very properly nonetheless make the playoffs this season, regardless of their five-game dropping streak amid a shocking collapse. If they beat the Jaguars within the regular-season finale, they’re going to clinch a 3rd straight AFC South title — a feat the franchise hasn’t achieved in 60 years – and host a playoff sport.  From there, something can occur. That is one thing to stay up for within the quick time period. 

In the long run, although? A possible rebuild is what the Titans ought to look towards. It is what they want.

The protection has flashed promise no matter personnel, however the offense has been dreadful, needing a whole reimagination.

Tennessee’s offensive-line play has underwhelmed. There’s not sufficient expertise on the pass-catching spots. And total, the staff is dependent upon fairly just a few high-priced veterans and excessive draft picks who’re both on injured reserve and/or persistently miss giant swathes of time. The depth behind these gamers can also be missing. Within the 2020 and ‘21 draft lessons mixed, the Titans added only one participant who’s began no less than 10 video games (cornerback Kristian Fulton).

So what may a Titans rebuild appear to be? A couple of pillars: 

Transfer on from Ryan Tannehill

Malik Willis carried out poorly in Sunday’s beautiful loss to the Texans, nevertheless it stays potential that the Titans are dedicated to giving the uncooked dual-threat quarterback an opportunity to be the 2023 starter. One can argue his three begins — and small cameos in two different video games — thus far aren’t sufficient of a pattern dimension to resolve on his beginning potential. Enjoying behind a nasty offensive line hasn’t helped, both. 

My thought course of: Willis will get a challenger for the QB1 position in 2023 in an affordable veteran, and Tannehill — the starter since halfway by the 2019 season — will get traded. The Titans may save $17.8 million in opposition to the 2023 wage cap by releasing him within the offseason, in accordance with Over The Cap. However they may achieve the identical cap financial savings by dealing him — and get a return on a participant who’s been a productive quarterback. 

This manner, the Titans can use the cap area from parting methods with Tannehill (and different potential cap casualties) to maximise the expertise round Willis, giving him the most effective likelihood to achieve success. If he would not pan out, the Titans may draft a first-round quarterback in 2024.

Preserve Derrick Henry

Henry will likely be in his age-29 season subsequent yr. That is usually a flip off for NFL franchises, particularly with operating backs who’ve dealt with a big workload. However he is nonetheless among the many best at his place.

After lacking 9 video games final season with a Jones fracture, Henry has rushed a league-leading 319 instances for 1,429 yards (second within the NFL) and 13 touchdowns (second amongst operating backs) by 15 video games. His manufacturing has remained at an elite degree regardless of a struggling, hurting offensive line.

Henry continues to be the staff’s prime offensive playmaker and he is underneath contract by 2023, when he is due $10.5 million in base wage. He would not determine to have a lot of a market contemplating his age and place, both. The Panthers netted a second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-round choose for Christian McCaffrey, however he is two years youthful than Henry, has much less put on and tear as a runner and is a a lot better pass-catcher than the Titans star. 

Tennessee can be finest served protecting Henry round for the final yr of his deal, then reassess the operating again place in 2024. 

Preserve Taylor Lewan on a pay minimize (if potential)

Taylor Lewan was a slam-dunk cap-casualty candidate for the Titans a number of months in the past, however the drastic decline within the staff’s play at left sort out makes {that a} harder dialog.

Dennis Daley, the starter on the spot since Lewan tore his ACL in Week 2, has struggled mightily. He leads all NFL offensive tackles in sacks (12) and pressures (47) allowed this season, in accordance with Professional Soccer Focus. Dillon Radunz, a 2021 second-round choose, suffered a season-ending knee harm (reportedly a torn ACL) in Week 15 in opposition to the Chargers, and the timing of the harm places his 2023 season unsure. Tennessee has no long-term reply on the essential left sort out spot. 

Below his present contract, Lewan is due $14.8 million in base wage for 2023, the final yr of the extension he signed in 2018, per Over The Cap. That counts in full in opposition to the wage cap. If the Titans can re-work that final yr to a team-friendly deal, that will be the best-case situation. It will permit Tennessee to draft an offensive sort out with out the strain to play the rookie straight away, and preserve it from overpaying for a left sort out amid a rebuild.

The Titans additionally face large questions throughout the inside offensive line — at middle and each guard spots. Will Ben Jones return for the again half of the two-year extension he signed within the spring? Who’s the left guard going to be? Will proper guard Nate Davis, an unrestricted free agent this offseason, keep put in Nashville? 

Half methods with slew of veterans 

Tannehill and Lewan apart, these are the veterans that it might take advantage of sense to launch — primarily based on efficiency, harm historical past and cap hit — and the cap financial savings that will be gained consequently: 

Exterior linebacker Bud Dupree — $9.3 million

Large receiver Robert Woods — $12 million

Linebacker Zach Cunningham — $9.2 million

Offensive lineman Jamarco Jones — $1.3 million

Releasing these 4 gamers alone would create greater than $31.8 million in wage cap area, in accordance with OverTheCap, leaving Tennessee cap room to strengthen their roster elsewhere.

High tales from FOX Sports activities:

Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand labored for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Community, the place he was the Titans beat author for a yr and a half. He coated the Seattle Seahawks for SeattlePI.com for 3 seasons (2018-20) previous to shifting to Tennessee. You’ll be able to comply with Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur

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