After a strong season in 2020, what is the salary cap situation for the Tennessee Titans entering the 2021 NFL league year? Let’s take a look at the Titans’ salary cap situation, as well as which players they could release, restructure, or extend to create additional salary cap space in 2021.
The Titans project to be around $5.1 million under the salary cap in 2021
As of March 3, the 2021 salary cap projects to be around $185 million. The Titans will carry over $2.3 million in cap space to the 2021 season. Therefore, the Titans’ current salary cap projects to be $187.3 million.
As it stands, the Titans have just over $175.6 million in commitments to their top 51 highest-paid players, with an additional $6.6 million in dead money. As such, the Titans are currently around $5.1 million under the 2021 salary cap.
To view the most up-to-date numbers for the Tennessee Titans’ salary cap space, check out our team by team 2021 salary cap space article, which is updated daily.
Tennessee has limited potential options for releasing players
With meager salary cap space for the 2021 NFL league year, the Titans need to consider releasing some players heading into free agency. Who are some of the players the Titans could release to save cap space in 2021?
Could Malcolm Butler be on his way out of Tennessee?
Butler signed a five-year contract with the Titans in 2018. He is now entering the fourth year of the deal and will count $14.2 million against the Titans’ 2021 salary cap. Releasing Butler could save the Titans $10.2 million in salary cap space.
Butler’s career has been a rollercoaster. His performances in coverage are often questioned, but he makes big plays. In the past six seasons, he has 17 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles, and scored 2 touchdowns.
Isaiah Wilson is likely on his way out of Tennessee
The relationship between Isaiah Wilson and the Tennessee Titans has dissolved to a point he may never step foot on the field for the Titans again. The complication comes with the guaranteed money and the signing bonus in Wilson’s contract.
Currently, Wilson’s contract will have him count $2.6 million against the Titans’ salary cap in 2021. If they release him, they could be left with $9.1 million in dead money. However, the Titans are likely investigating how they can void the guarantees and potentially reclaim the signing bonus. If they are successful, it’ll clear cap space for the 2021 season.
The Titans have players they can extend or restructure to create cap space in 2021
The Titans may need to consider restructuring contracts or leveraging extensions against future salary caps. Let’s take a look at some potential candidates.
Adoree’ Jackson is due to play on his fifth-year option in 2021
After his first-round selection in 2017, the Titans picked up Jackson’s fifth-year option ahead of last season. Therefore, Jackson is due to count $10.2 million against the Titans’ salary cap in 2021. As all of that money is in salary, an extension beyond the fifth-year option could save the Titans around $7.4 million in 2021 salary cap space.
The Titans need to make a decision on Ben Jones and Rashaan Evans
Center Ben Jones has been a solid contributor for the Titans over the past five years. The 2021 season will see him count $7.3 million against the Titans’ salary cap. An extension could save as much as $4.1 million for the Titans in 2021, although doing so would lead to some huge contract numbers in the coming years.
The Titans also need to decide on their 2018 first-round pick Rashaan Evans. Evans is eligible to have his fifth-year option picked up, which would cost an estimated $10.3 million. Additionally, both his 2021 and 2022 salary would be fully guaranteed at that point. Currently, an extension for Evans would save just $1 million in salary cap space for the Titans in 2021.
Tennessee has a handful of players with contracts they could restructure
Safety Kevin Byard expects to count $15.0 million against the Titans’ salary cap. $3.3 million of that is prorated bonus, meaning they can save up to $7.7 million with a restructure.
Running back Derrick Henry will count $13.5 million against the Titans’ salary cap in 2021. A restructure could save around $6.3 million, pushing a further $6 million into the next two seasons. However, that would more than double the cost for the Titans of releasing Henry following the 2021 season.
On the offensive line, restructures for Rodger Saffold and Taylor Lewan could save the Titans around $15 million in salary cap space in 2021. They are due to count for a combined $26 million against the cap for the upcoming season. Restructuring the Saffold and Lewan contracts could save around $6.7 million and $8.4 million, respectively.
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