Apparently the time to sign an extension with the Tennessee Titans is right before the draft. Two years ago, it was LT Michael Roos inking a 7 year, $43 million dollar deal. This year, it seems to be restricted free agent DT Tony Brown with a 3 year deal. Brown’s agent notes that the deal isn’t quite done, but should be finalized soon so I’ll consider it as though it’s done.
Without knowing any of the financial terms, it’s tough to evaluate this deal, but I will say I’m surprised this happened. The Titans gave Brown a 1st round tender this offseason, so if he signed that he would have earned $2.621 million. With Brown’s new deal, the Titans now have 4 defensive tackles signed for the next 2 seasons and 3 of them signed for the next 3 seasons. That seems like an unusually stable future, though one with a potentially troubled ending, with the prospect of turning over the top 3 DTs in a single season. Teams like stability, but normally tend to try to avoid undergoing that sort of potential roster flux.
Note also that even though Brown only has 5 years of NFL service, he’s not exactly young, turning 30 at the end of September. 32 is not particularly old for a defensive tackle, but his play will probably not ever be better than it was last year or this year, and NFL teams don’t normally commit to non-elite players soon to be on the wrong side of 30. For that reason, beyond the basic financial terms, I’ll be very interested to see the actual structure, and if it’s a normal 3 year deal or more of a front-loaded one like Will Witherspoon’s.
One player who may be worried at the news of Brown’s extension is Jovan Haye, who was a disappointment last season after signing a 4 year deal at $4 million per. The Titans aren’t about to cut Marks (signed for the next 3 years) or Jason Jones (next 2 years), so if they want to add a defensive tackle, it’ll be the big money guy whose performance doesn’t match his production.
I’d say this also puts an end to Vol fan dreams of Dan Williams, not that he’ll actually last to #16 anyway (watch KC at #5 take him) or is a great fit for the Titans.
Chiming in on the topic du jour, I’d also say the extension indicates that Albert Haynesworth isn’t on his way back to Nashville. Brown, who could’ve been a decent fit as a 3-4 DE, was one of the Titans’ more attractive trade chips for the Redskins, but part of that was a reasonable salary for 2010 and maybe a compensatory pick in 2012 after leaving as a free agent. Now, though, unless the Redskins simply want to dump Big Albert for the sake of dumping him, it’s even more unlikely the Titans can acquire him without multiple high picks. Then again, I’ve aways been much more skeptical of those rumors than most people, partly because I’m less willing to spend Bud’s money.
The other player who might be affected by this signing is Kevin Vickerson. I don’t believe he’s signed his RFA tender yet, but unless the Titans really want to carry 5 DTs again, he’s a guy who could find himself on the move this weekend if the Titans want to move picks around in the middle of the draft.