With a good portion of their 2019 roster set to hit the free agency market in March, the Tennessee Titans could use some extra cap space to work with.
One way they could go about doing that is by cutting ties with players who are under contract for next season and who just aren’t worth the amounts they’re scheduled to be paid.
Four contracts that the Titans currently have on the books, in particular, stand out as ones that the team should probably move on from in the coming weeks.
RB Dion Lewis
- Dead money, if released: $1.125 million
- Cap savings, if released: $4.037 million
Arguably, this should be the easiest, most straightforward cap casualty in the NFL this offseason.
When the Titans signed Lewis in March of 2018, they made him one of the league’s 10 highest paid tailbacks. The return on that investment has been grim.
Crushing line from Kevin Harlan for #Titans fans: “Crucial play here for the Titans…Dion Lewis is on the field.”
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) December 1, 2019
In Lewis, the Titans thought they were getting a weapon who could give defenses fits as a receiver and shifty ballcarrier. What they’ve gotten is a slow, small back who chops his feet and frequently shoots the offense in the foot.
Lewis struggled so mightily during the 2019 season that he essentially became a meme among Titans fans. When Lewis was on the field, it just seemed that something bad was bound to happen.
Additionally, Lewis is heading into his age-30 season. Traditionally, hitting the 30-year-old mark is a death sentence for running backs.
By moving on from Lewis’ contract and finding a cheaper and more talented replacement through the draft, the Titans would free up over $4 million to spend on retaining some of their talented players with expiring contracts.
K Ryan Succop
- Dead money, if released: $2.1 million
- Cap savings, if released: $2 million
In 2019, the Titans were historically bad in the kicking game. While not all of the blame for the disastrous results falls on Succop—he played in just six games—some of it does.
Succop missed the entirety of Training Camp with a knee injury and played in two preseason games before the injury led to him being placed on injured reserve, forcing him to sit out the first eight games of the regular season.
When he returned in Week Nine, Succop was far from being the accurate, reliable kicker he had proven to be for the Titans in years past. He looked to still be affected by the knee injury, missing all but one of the six field goals he attempted.
There is certainly a fair argument to be made for the Titans giving Succop one last chance to see if an entire offseason of healing has allowed him to return to form. The best move, however, considering just how bad the Titans were in the kicking game last year, would be to overcorrect.
The Titans cannot just try to stumble upon a kicker. They need to be aggressive in trying to get a good one.
Gaining $2 million by moving on from Succop’s contract could help them do that.