On Sunday we took a look at the break down of the Tennessee Titans salary cap going into the 2013 season. With about $6M left in the coffers, the Titans may either hold onto that money, or restructure a handful of contracts and accelerate bonuses due. Depending on how they feel about the next years situation. Let's look ahead and see what the landscape holds for the future.
The biggest enigma and unrestricted free agent for the 2014 season is obviously Kenny Britt. Depending on the type of year Kenny Britt has, the Titans may or may not be able to resign him. A franchise tag could very well be in his future, and considering the patience the team has had with him, he would be wise not to complain.
Here's the full list of the other players currently on the teams roster that have no contract for 2014:
Mike Otto, Fernando Velasco, Bernard Pollard, Damian Williams, Rob Turner, Alterraun Verner, Darius Reynaud, Rapoti Pitoitua, Antonio Johnson, Kasey Studdard, Rusty Smith, Marc Mariani, Robert Johnson, Al Afalava, Chris, Spencer, Kevin Walter, Jalen Parmele, Keyunta Dawson, Greg Jones, Barry Richardson, Brandon Barden, Michael Preston.
At first glance the future doesn't look too bad. A handful of the players listed may not even be on the team this year, let alone worrying about them in 2014. Another large section of this group is the plethora of one year contracts the Titans signed free agents to for this year. Depending on how integral a player the likes of Bernard Pollard, Rapoti Pitoitua, and Kevin Walter become will depend on how important a longer contract will be for those players.
Outside of Kenny Britt, the biggest name that sticks out of this list is Alterraun Verner. Verner played very well at corner last year and is widely thought of as excelling in the slot. With more of an emphasis on man coverage outside and the emergence of second year player Coty Sensabaugh playing in the slot, the Titans could have reasons to not offer as much as he could get elsewhere.
The Titans currently have about $122M in contracts on the books for 2014 with another $2M in dead money for Eugene Amano. The current salary cap for the NFL is around $123M. No one knows yet what the cap will be for 2014, but the NFL's new TV contract kicks in for that year which is estimated to increase the cap by a significant margin.
This may be the one smart time in the NFL to push money into the future, which we watched Ruston Webster do this off season. Webster signed big name free agents to huge deals with only spending about $14M of this years cap space. Normally this could be a recipe for disaster, but with the minimal amount of "important" free agents the Titans have for 2014, combined with the increased cap space from the new TV contract, this is the one time to do it without hamstringing your team in the future.
The Tennessee Titans currently sit around 10th in league for 2014 contract money. Assuming the Titans have a good year and they want to keep the team together, they should be able to do so without major issue. While they don't have as much room for spending as they did this previous year, there should be enough room to wrap up key free agents and extend contracts to developing players.
The Titans would be hard pressed however to be active in free agency outside of their own next year. With the high number of teams that have more cap room than the Titans, the increase in cap space from the new TV deal, combined with the minimum spending percentage from the new CBA, I expect there to be a gross amount of over-payment for free agents in the 2014 off-season.
Good thing the Titans won't need any help!