In the picture for this article you can see J.J. Watt and Andrew Luck. That is because by the end of this year, they will both probably be the only players in the AFC South that earn $10 million annually. In a salary cap league, parity is largely based on draft position and honestly whether or not you have a cheap, talented quarterback.
Not everyone is going to be like the Seattle Seahawks and build an elite defense while their young quarterback is forced to work on a tiny rookie contract, you could end up like the Indianapolis Colts wasting that window and locking in bad contracts like Andre Johnson, Arthur Jones and Gosder Cherilus.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars believing they have something to build around in Blake Bortles, and the Tennessee Titans having nothing but rave reviews for Marcus Mariota these two teams who currently have no players averaging $10 million per year could be looking to make some big moves in the future.
Why the Titans have an advantage
The real reason why this is such a big deal for the Titans is that they quietly have assembled some very good young players. If the Titans take the Seattle Seahawks approach and build in house rather than focusing on aging veterans, this team could have some serious cornerstones.
No conversation about the Tennessee's bright future can start without one of the best young tackles in the game. That isn't just my opinion, look at this tweet on how talented young tackles are few and far between.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Plotting PFF grades for last season's rookies for an upcoming series really reinforces how much last years OTs (Lewan aside) struggled.</p>— Ben Stockwell (@PFF_Ben) <a href="https://twitter.com/PFF_Ben/status/611934173247483904">June 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Being able to lock up a premier left tackle who has the perfect disposition for an offensive lineman is a rare thing these days and the Titans are lucky enough to have that option.
While Walker isn't young, he has very little wear and tear after being a backup for most of his career. He combines savvy veteran skills and mentality, with a limited number of snaps on the field. I think by this time next year Walker will be much more recognized around the league.
I don't know how to feel about Kendall Wright honestly. He has been very good early in his career, but I can't help but feel with all the times he has slipped or taken the wrong angle, that maybe he isn't quite as good as all Titans fans believe. However, having a capable quarterback could help him a lot, and the Titans can't afford to let any quality receivers walk if they have chemistry with Marcus Mariota.
Chance Warmack/Zach Brown/Mike Martin
This tier all gets lumped together because they are all one good year away from being worthy of good contracts. Warmack was a stud his last few games, especially when asked to be the run-blocking, mauler he was supposed to be.
Zach Brown has all the potential to be elite in this defensive system if he really puts forth the effort to learn from Dick LeBeau.
Mike Martin has been an off and on productive player on this defensive line, and if he can separate himself from the pack I think he has the talent to be a very good run defender and space eater in this league.
The Titans have a huge potential opportunity here if Marcus Mariota pans out. They have young talent and even more if players like Dorial Green-Beckham, Tre McBride, Bishop Sankey, and David Cobb pan out. Like Delanie Walker said, I think I could see this team going over .500 this year if Marcus Mariota pans out and with $25 million in cap room this year and more next year this team could solidify a young nucleus and maybe add a nice piece or two in free agency.