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Titans' Big Money Players Not Living Up To Their Prices

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The highest-paid players need to produce for their team to have success. And amid all the Titans' problems, they are not getting very much out of their cash cows.

Jeffery Simmons talked in London about the team's leaders being vocal and speaking their minds, helping to spark change.

Jeffery Simmons
  Jeffery Simmons/ Angie Flatt

But those leaders also need to trigger teammates with better, contagious play.

Here is what the Titans’ big-dollar guys have done through six games:

 

Ryan Tannehill

Cap hit: $36.6 million
Base salary: $27 million [Unlocked]

He’s thrown two touchdown passes and six interceptions in six games, with a 71.9 passer rating. That’s the second-worst rating among qualified passers to the Giants’ Daniel Jones. He’s been missing some wide receivers and had terrible pass protection, but his ability to avoid some pressure has not been good and he’s not helped elevate a struggling offense that’s been bad in the red zone, an area that’s been a strength in past years.

Derrick Henry

Cap hit: $16.4 million
Base salary: $10.5 million

He’s partially a victim of the Titans’ inability to figure out how to use him. They say they want to still base things around him, but he’s down to 16.3 carries and 70.8 yards a game. Those numbers are down 3.9 carries and 25.3 yards from his lowest since he became the full-time starter in 2019. He's down 1.04 yards per attempt in the red zone, and a year after he averaged .69 red-zone TDs a game he's at .33. He says all the right things as a leader in terms of holding the team together and staying the course.

Kevin Byard

Cap hit: $11.3 million
Base salary: $4 million

One of the most beloved Titans of his era, it’s hard to remember a significant play he’s made this season. He’s been at his best as an opportunistic, well-positioned player who pounces on tipped and overthrown passes. The Titans aren’t getting their hands on any passes this season and while Byard made some big tackles in the route of the Bengals and has played solid run defense, he’s having a pretty quiet season. He doesn't even have a pass defensed.

Harold Landry

Cap Hit: $10.6 million
Base Salary: $4 million

History told us the odds were low that he’d return to form right from the start of 2023, even with a full year to recover from the torn ACL he suffered a week before the start of the 2022 season. And he’s been very low-impact. He had a big sack at the end of regulation against Cincinnati and he chased down Anthony Richardson on a run play where Richardson landed badly and suffered what turned out to be a season-ending shoulder injury. Otherwise, he really ought to be surrendering more snaps to Trevis Gipson right now.

Denico Autry

Cap Hit: $9.1 million
Base Salary: $6.75 million

He’s been solid with flashes but not great in his 10th season. Only 66 percent of his work has come on pass-rush snaps and out of those he has found a team-best four sacks so he deserves credit for the best production out of what was supposed to be a swarming front four that regularly creates pressure on its own but had turned tepid.

Amani Hooker

Cap Hit: $8.9 million
Base Salary: $6.2 million

Grabbed an interception in New Orleans and then missed Week 2 hurt. Has been reasonably good against the run, but hasn’t done a great deal in pass coverage since the pick and is less of a play-maker right now than he’s been in the past when he’s been healthy.

Jeffery Simmons

Cap Hit: $6.4 million
Base Salary: $1.3 million

Overall, he’s rushed well (2.5 sacks). But that’s dropped off. His run defense has not been at the level that is expected of him considering how he’s played in the past. He’s not fond of the suggestion that he and the defensive front have missed Teair Tart in the last two losses.

After the London loss, he suggested the Titans need to weed out some guys who aren’t so into playing. Mike Vrabel said Simmons has earned the right to say what he wants, but also said: “We've hit the quarterback three times the last two games, so we'd have to prepare there too. It's tough to win and it's tough to cause turnovers when you hit the quarterback twice in two games.”

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