How can the Titans keep all their star free agents?

NFL Free Agency, Tennessee Titans

There are few teams with trickier free-agency situations than the Tennessee Titans. How do they go about keeping all their stars for next season?

How is Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson going to do this?

Even though the Titans have over $47 million in available salary cap space, they face several tough decisions in free agency. At least five well-known players in Nashville will be hitting free agency: running back Derrick Henry, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, right tackle Jack Conklin, defensive back Logan Ryan and quarterback Marcus Mariota. What are they going to do?

First, Robinson must prioritize who he’s bringing back. Mariota was benched in favor of Tannehill midseason, so he’s gone. It’s a shame the former No. 2 overall pick out of Oregon and the Heisman Trophy winner didn’t work out, but it’s best for both parties to move on. Ryan isn’t poised to make top-dollar, so Robinson can work out a deal with him if he wants to.

As for the other three, well, that gets more challenging.

The best plan of action might be to franchise tag Henry, see if Robinson can put together a new team-friendly deal for Tannehill and hope Conklin doesn’t command a ludicrous salary. Tennessee did it to itself by not extending a fifth-year option to Conklin. He could have been under contract already, but instead the former first-round pick is likely to be playing elsewhere in 2020.

If the Titans want to right a wrong and bring back Conklin on a new deal, maybe Tannehill is the guy leaving? He may want to return to Nashville, the place where his floundering NFL career was revitalized. However, Tannehill might have made himself too expensive for the Titans by his play last year.

Allowing Henry to leave Nashville under any circumstance this offseason would be a borderline fireable offense for the Titans brass. He’s just hitting his prime. Will he hold up over a second deal? Impossible to say, but Henry carried this team to the AFC Championship. That matters.

Ultimately, Tennessee needs dumb teams to throw crazy amounts of money to overrated players in free agency if the Titans want to bring back Henry, Tannehill, Conklin and Ryan. They have to hope Tannehill, Conklin and Ryan’s markets dry up quickly in a wild game of free agency musical chairs.

Ultimately, it will be very tough for the Titans to afford Henry, Tannehill and Conklin.

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