NASHVILLE – When the Titans didn’t franchise tag Harold Landry by the deadline Tuesday afternoon, I wrote they were either close to a long-term deal or he was a goner.

LandrySackTLTT

Courtesy Tennessee Titans

The two sides were in fact on the verge of that long-term deal, as NFL Network and ESPN are reporting he’s got a five-year, $87.5 million agreement with $52.5 million guaranteed.

That dwarfs the five-year, $82.5 million deal with $35 million guaranteed the team gave Steelers free-agent Bud Dupree last season. [Unlocked]

When I thought they might be willing to let Landry get away, I figured they believed they could morph into something new again.

In 2020 they won the division with 19 sacks as an offensive football team. In 2021 they were a front-four driven team with Landry and Dupree (when healthy) flanking Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry keying the entire operation and accounting for 32.5 of the team’s 43 sacks. Landry had a career-high 12 of those.

Instead, they’ve committed to that front and will let those four continue to work together to harass quarterbacks.

They’ll face some top ones in 2022 including Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Russell Wilson, Justin Herbert and Dak Prescot.

The team is over $7 million over the salary cap and needs to get under by March 16.

Signing Landry long-term is a big deal in helping keep new costs down.

That suggests the contract has a go-for-it structure, as it's certainly not front-loaded and gives the team a chance to make prudent cuts and restructures to allow for needed additions.

Dupree's guarantee was $17.5 million less than Landry's, but the Titans also minimized his first-year cap hit. That was only $5,126,471 in 2021 per Over The Cap. So Landry's deal is likely formulated in a similar way, perhaps with an additional year of base salary guaranteed.

Landry is an incredibly hard worker who doesn't like to come off the field and will play as many snaps as they allow. Dupree is similar, and while the Titans don't have great depth behind them, the position does not qualify as a free-agent or draft priority now.

Kuharsky megaphoneThe Titans have gone a long time without developing an edge rusher. They've now rewarded the one they traded up to draft out of Boston College in the second round four years ago.

Since entering the NFL in 2018, Landry has accumulated a team-high 31 sacks. That's the second-highest total by a Titans/Oilers player in his first four NFL seasons since 1982, when individual sacks became an official NFL statistic in 1982.

Only Jevon Kearse had more, with 37.

From 2018 to 2021, Landry joined Pittsburgh's Cameron Heyward as the NFL's only players to be credited with at least 250 tackles, 30 sacks and two interceptions.

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