The Tennessee Titans went further than anyone thought they would. After switching quarterbacks from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill, the team almost had an improbable Super Bowl run before being stopped by the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.
While the team did great as constructed, the Titans now have some tough decisions this offseason.
Comeback player of the year Ryan Tannehill, rushing leader Derrick Henry, veteran cornerback Logan Ryan and offensive tackle Jack Conklin are among many free agents the Titans have to make decisions on this offseason.
In a perfect world, the Titans would like to bring them all back but there is a such a thing as the salary cap. With that being said, the Titans have to decide who is more important to bring back. Let’s take a look at the team’s priority list this offseason.
1) Derrick Henry
Conventional wisdom in this day and age of pass-first offenses says you don’t pay Henry big money. Well, the Titans offense was definitely not conventional, as they ran the ball relentlessly every game.
Because of the offense they use, Henry is vital and needs to be the focal point of the offseason. The NFL’s 2019 leading rusher is definitely priority number one for the Titans.
2) Ryan Tannehill
The Titans were sputtering offensively with Marcus Mariota at quarterback and when Tannehill took over, the offense went to another level. Sure, the run game was solid but they got more explosive offensive plays in the passing game with Tannehill leading the show.
Quarterback play is huge in the NFL and it seems like Tannehill is a good fit in Nashville, so the marriage is very important to keep going in regards to the offensive success.
Conventional wisdom would say the quarterback is more important but Tannehill showed he isn’t more important than Henry in the AFC Championship game against the Chiefs. Despite his great season, Tannehill couldn’t win the game without the running game working.
3) Logan Ryan
The Titans have a solid group of young players at each level of play but this veteran defensive back was the most versatile piece they had. In today’s NFL, you have to have a solid slot defender and a versatile one and Ryan was just that.
He led the team in tackles, was fourth on the team in sacks with 4.5 and was second on the team in interceptions.
Ryan is essential but with defensive coordinator Dean Pees retiring and defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs heading back to Ohio State to be the defensive coordinator, his role could change if brought back and that could potentially lessen his importance.
4) Jack Conklin
Going into the season, Jack Conklin was a huge question mark. After returning from his ACL injury last season, it looked like he was struggling and should not have come back as soon as he did.
This past year, he did have some hiccups but showed significant improvement. Although he isn’t a great pass-blocker, he is very solid in the running game and will probably be better with one more year off the ACL tear.
The issue is will there be enough money to spread around for him? He is important but not more than the three players listed above.
Decision time is coming for the Titans and it will be interesting to see how they prioritize their own free agents.