Titans crafting artful deals that allow room for mistakes

HT092417 JM187 1NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans want ball-carriers who show escapability.

Their front office is negotiating deals that give the franchise escapability.

Malcolm Butler got a five-year deal, $61.25 million contract. (Photo courtesy of the New England Patriots/Jim Mahoney.)

But it’s only got $24 million guaranteed in the first two seasons, after which the Titans can get out with no further guarantees and a 2020 cap charge of $6 million. (Numbers courtesy Spotrac.)

That’s hardly a killer in the event he fails to pan out and is not what they are expecting.

Dion Lewis’ full four-deal could be worth up to $23.2 million if he reaches all his incentives.

But The Titans can be done with him after two seasons and $12 million, with only $1.125 million left as a dead charge on the 2020 cap.

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Where the Titans stand as Week Two of free agency approaches

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans have let five players go, watched one sign elsewhere, re-signed two and added two outsiders.

Phase One of NFL free-agency is clearly over.

Let’s look at what we’ve learned about Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel’s intentions to this point.

Defensive line: The Titans let Sylvester Williams go, because of cost, and Karl Klug go, because, I believe, of fit.

Williams was the first “my bad” for Jon Robinson. The nose tackle signed a three-year deal in 2017 with $8.5 million guaranteed. An additional $1.25 million would have guaranteed Sunday.KlugKC

I credit to Robinson for admitting a mistake instead of trying to force it.

Klug had a $250k roster bonus due Sunday, but I think his release was keyed as much to how he’d fit in Dean Pees defense as to that money.

They combine to save the Titans $4.9 million cap dollars. Many Twitter experts insisted the moves were made to make room for Ndamukong Suh, but the Titans had plenty of cap resources to make a deal for Suh whether Williams and/or Klug were on the roster or not.

The Titans could wind up adding Suh or another free agent on the defensive line.

But Antwaun Woods is a guy who’s stock could be up. He’s 318 pounds. He’s been on the practice squad for much of the last two years, but did play in one game in 2016.

Quarterback: The Titans courted Chad Henne, hosting him on a visit. But he moved on to Kansas City and signed with the Chiefs where he will backup Pat Mahomes.

There is no indication who the Titans next option is, but it’s a position the Titans need to address with a veteran they like, soon.

The options now include Geno Smith, Matt Moore, Derek Anderson, E.J. Manuel, Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton.

Offensive line: Peter King says in the new edition of MMQB that the Titans made a call on Ryan Jensen, the center who hopped from the Ravens to the Buccaneers.

Now a call doesn’t indicate the level of interest, but it tells us at least a little. At the very least they were wondering about his price.

The Titans re-signed right guard Josh Kline and tendered restricted free agent left guard Quinton Spain.

This mention of Jensen is the lone indication that the Titans are thinking through additional possibilities for the interior offensive line. He played center in 2017, but previously spent time at both guard positions.

Updated needs: Edge rusher, inside linebacker, backup quarterback, guard, third safety, receiver, defensive line.

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Ndamukong Suh's Nashville visit is a two-way audition


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ndamukong Suh arrived in Music City Saturday evening.

A lot of fans are thinking the Titans need to wow him with their sales pitch and then with their offer.

My sense is he needs to wow them too, and an offer he likes has no chance of happening unless he does.

We’re beyond the piece of free agency where guys like Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis agreed to terms with a new team sight unseen.

For a veteran guy like Suh or former Titan DeMarco Murray looking for the right spot and, likely, the best payday, it’s travel time.

Suh knows new Titans defensive line coach Terrell Williams, who is surely one of the reasons he’s visiting.

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Pickers mailbag: Growing pains with new Titans' schemes

pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Greetings and welcome to the mailbag.

I know everyone is excited about Ndamukong Suh, who will reportedly visit this weekend. I'll be monitoring and bring you anything I find out and reaction to any development as quickly as I can.

Onto your questions...

Will Craig: Do you expect growing pains with the new schemes early in the season? What can teams do to limit those things?

PK: There are probably some, sure. But a big part of what Mike Vrabel, Dean Pees and Matt LaFleur have to get done before opening day is getting players comfortable with the schemes so they don't have to overthink when it's time to play. and part of that comes from not making the schemes too complicated.

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Ndamukong Suh questions and Sylvester Williams contract concerns

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ndamukong Suh is a tough guy to block and a very appealing available defensive lineman.

After Ian Rapoport reported Suh has a visit to Tennessee lined up, Jurrell Casey was excited, just like a lot of Titans fans. The visit is reportedly this weekend.

Here’s my concern about Suh as a Titan.WilliamsJags

In eight NFL seasons, one could argue that two of his three least-good years came in Miami while he was coached by Terrell Williams, who is now the Titans defensive line coach.

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YAZOO PODCAST: Loss of Avery Williamson not tragic, not so sure about my stomach issues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Greetings from a few days into free-agency.

The evening after meeting Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis I chatted with Madison Blevins Pk Pod 2about them and a whole lot more for the new edition of The Paul Kuharsky Podcast.

Part 1, like podcast versions of my public Periscope and Facebook Lives, is available through iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here. Feel free to hook us up with a rating and review on iTunes. We always welcome your feedback.

If you're a member of the site, Part 1 and Part 2 are together, and all you have to do is head below the line.

Other topics: Potential pursuit of Ndamukong Suh, the loss of Avery Williamson and self-diagnosing my stomach issues.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We met the two newest Titans at team headquarters on Thursday.

Malcolm Butler is a self-made player who came into the league as an undrafted rookie, intercepted Russell Wilson to seal a Super Bowl XLIX win for the Patriots and became a key cog in the New England machine.

Dion Lewis was missed 2013 hurt and was out of the league in 2014.

Now they've got big-dollar contracts and are expected to be central figures in the next step of Tennessee's resurgence.

My video report:


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What Titans adding Dion Lewis could mean to Derrick Henry

NYJ101517 JM71 1NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The presumption when the Titans released DeMarco Murray was that Derrick Henry would assume the mantle as the team’s lead running back.

With Dion Lewis incoming as a free-agent acquisition, we may need to reassess.

Ultimately Mike Vrabel, Matt LaFleur and Tony Dews will determine deployment.

But in less than 24 hours after Lewis-to-Tennessee came to light, a film analyst, an analytics expert and a fantasy expert all looked at the move and concluded Lewis will, or should, get work on early downs, not just on third down.

(Dion Lewis photo courtesy New England Patriots/Jim Mahoney.)

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