Not only did the Titans lock up their star running back Derrick Henry for four years Wednesday, they gave themselves the salary cap room to do even more.
If Henry had played under the franchise tag he would have counted for $10.2-million against the salary cap, but according to spotrac.com the new 4-year deal worth $50-million has a cap hit of only $6-million in 2020.
That is over a $4-million savings and could be the difference between signing defensive star Jadeveon Clowney and playing against him. The Titans have been interested in Clowney the entire off-season and both sides have been content to slow play with the situation. The Titans continue to say they are interested and Clowney continues to turn down other offers.
With Jurrell Casey traded to Denver the Titans have a rather large hole on their defensive front to fill and Clowney could be one of those players with the ability to take the Titans from good to great.
So how did they do it? If it is more money how did they lower the number? Well, Henry got $12-million just to sign. That gets spread out over four years at $3-million per season, after that he gets $3-million in base salary in 2020 putting his cap number at $6-million for the season.
After that the numbers jump considerably. In 2021 the base salary jumps to $10.5-million, in 2022 to $12-million and 2023 to $12.5-million.
What it comes down to is this is basically a 2-year, $25.5-million contract with a Titans option for two more seasons.
In 2022 the Titans will have a decision to make, is Henry worth the $12-million in base salary and the $15-million cap hit or they could walk away from the Henry deal and take on $6-million in dead money.
No, that is not fun, but is $9-million in savings and could mean the difference between resigning a player like AJ Brown or watching him walk.
The devil is always in the details and this time the Titans worked out a devil of a deal