The Tennessee Titans enter the 2022 offseason in a less-than-ideal situation financially. They are currently more than $6.9 million over the salary cap. The front office must make difficult decisions on some key players, but none more important than Harold Landry III. The Pro Bowl outside linebacker will test the market in NFL free agency.
Landry recorded 75 tackles, 22 quarterback hits, and 12 sacks in 2021. He also finished seventh in the league in QB pressures with 43. The Boston College product is only 25 years old, so Tennessee should do everything it can to lock up the defensive star for the future. However, Landry likely wants to get paid, and he could be out of the Titans’ price range.
These four teams should be in play for the gifted edge rusher once the free agency period opens.
The Tennessee Titans will obviously have first dibs on Harold Landry III in the offseason. They selected the Spring Lake, North Carolina native with the No. 41 overall pick in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Now, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent after a strong finish to his rookie contract.
To give Landry the long-term deal he likely deserves, the Titans would certainly have to restructure other contracts. The market value for the fourth-year outside linebacker is four years, $68.4 million (around $17.1 million per year).
Given his tremendous impact on the success of the NFL’s sixth-ranked overall defense, it would be wise for Tennessee to fight for Landry. The team could use the franchise tag to lock him up for 2022 and then revisit the long-term deal. Or, the Titans could let him walk, which might come back to bite them.
The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t necessarily desperate for Harold Landry III. However, going after a player like him in NFL free agency would align with what the Steelers do defensively. He’s a speed-rusher who could form a dominant duo opposite Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt.
Watt’s 22.5 sacks led the NFL and tied Hall of Famer Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record. No team recorded more sacks than the Steelers in 2021 (55). All-Pro defensive tackle Cameron Heyward had the second-highest total with 10 sacks on the season. Alex Highsmith also showed promise in his second season.
Landry is a different beast, though. It’s unclear how the Steelers offense will look without Ben Roethlisberger. Loading up on elite defensive talent could help take pressure off whoever is under center. Pittsburgh has the cap space to get a deal done, too ($29.5 million).
The Denver Broncos are awaiting word on the Aaron Rodgers sweepstakes, but they should focus on solidifying the defense in the meantime. The unit finished No. 3 in team defense, allowing 326.1 total yards and 18.9 points per game. Still, the Broncos have the means to go after Harold Landry III in NFL free agency ($39.1 million in cap space).
Denver shipped three-time All-Pro Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams before the trade deadline, which left a bit of a void in the pass-rushing department. Bradley Chubb is a gifted player but battled injuries in 2021. He didn’t record a single sack in seven games. Shelby Harris led the team with six sacks.
Adding a player like Landry could take the Broncos defense to another level. They boasted a dominant defense without an elite pass rusher. Imagine what this unit could do with a blossoming sack artist.
Los Angeles Chargers
Harold Landry III could be a fantastic addition to the LA Chargers defense in 2022. LA ranked near the bottom of the league in team defense, which couldn’t have sat well with a defensive-minded coach like Brandon Staley.
The Chargers had a massive void on the edge after losing Melvin Ingram III to the Steelers before the 2021 season. This unit needs a running mate for four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Joey Bosa. The Ohio State product led the team with 10.5 sacks and 20 quarterback hits.
Inserting Landry into the fold would immediately make LA’s defense more dangerous. Right now, Bosa is the only player that scares opposing offenses coming off the edge. The Titans star is could wreak havoc and help the Chargers get where they want to be defensively.