What Does Harold Landry’s $87.5 Million Contract Mean for the Titans?

After suffering an early exit from the NFL playoffs, the Tennessee Titans entered the 2022 offseason on a mission. The loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was a disappointment, but general manager Jon Robinson is gearing up for the upcoming season. His first order of business was securing Harold Landry III’s future with the team.

Landry has been a driving force for Tennessee’s defense over the past few seasons, and he undoubtedly earned a big payday. It was unclear if the Titans would retain the Pro Bowl outside linebacker, but the front office was able to get a deal done.

The massive deal could impact what the Titans do in free agency and the draft.

The Titans secured Harold Landry III long-term

Bringing Harold Landry III back in 2022 was a high priority for the Tennessee Titans in the offseason. The team was able to accomplish just that. According to ESPN‘s Adam Schefter, Tennessee signed the Boston College product to a five-year, $87.5 million contract. The deal reportedly includes $52.5 million in guaranteed money.

Landry played out the final year of his rookie contract, and he enjoyed the most productive season of his career. He recorded 75 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks in 2021.

The Titans opted not to use the franchise tag on Landry. Instead of letting him hit the free-agent market, general manager Jon Robinson struck a long-term deal with one of the team’s defensive leaders.

Re-signing Landry could be the biggest domino to fall for the AFC South champions. Still, it sets the stage for any other potential moves the Titans make in the offseason.

Why giving the Pro Bowl edge rusher a big payday was the right move

Titans outside linebacker Harold Landry III in action against the Browns
Harold Landry III of the Tennessee Titans plays against the Cleveland Browns | Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Titans couldn’t afford to let Harold Landry III walk in free agency. He simply means too much to what Mike Vrabel’s squad wants to do defensively.

The 25-year-old edge rusher is a budding star in this league. He has established himself as a cornerstone of Tennessee’s defense, and the organization paid him like one. Retaining Landry was the best move for the team.

The Titans’ defense took a massive step forward under defensive coordinator Shane Bowen during the 2021 season. The unit ranked in the bottom half of the league in 2020 but finished in the top 10 this time around. Tennessee held its opponents to 329.8 yards and 20.8 points per game.

Landry played a significant role in the Titans’ defensive success. You can’t measure his impact in sacks alone. The Spring Lake, North Carolina native registered 43 pressures and 22 quarterback hits.

By re-signing Harold Landry, the Titans keep the core of their front seven intact. The front office also inked a one-year contract extension with defensive tackle Teair Tart, per ESPN‘s Field Yates. Landry, Tart, Jeffery Simmons, Bud Dupree, and Denico Autry form a menacing front that can wreak havoc on opposing offenses.

What’s next for Tennessee this offseason?

While securing Harold Landry III long-term was a priority for Jon Robinson and the front office, the team has other needs to address. With the front seven returning in full force, the Titans can now turn their attention to free agency and the draft.

The rest of Tennessee’s offseason needs include offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, and potentially quarterback. Upgrading the roster could be challenging, given the team’s financial situation. The Titans are $6.9 million over the salary cap.

Landry’s hefty deal could affect how the front office handles other free agents and pre-existing contracts. The Titans could be on the verge of cutting offensive tackle Rodger Saffold, per Joe Rexrode of The Athletic. Center Ben Jones is an unrestricted free agent, so it will be interesting to see if the two sides can come to an agreement.

The salary cap limits how much the Titans can spend in free agency, so the front office must be diligent in preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft. The upcoming wide receiver class is pretty deep, and there should be plenty of offensive line talent available through Day 2 of the draft.

Filling out the roster from here on out could be difficult, but the Titans already have a strong foundation.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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