With the draft in the books and most of free agency out of the way, let's turn our attention to next year. Some very recent (and frustrating) high draft picks are set to hit the market next off-season. Will they show out in their contract years and force the Titans to pay up? Here's a look at all the players who will see their current deals with the Titans expire after the 2016 season.
I don't think anyone was surprised to see the Titans decline Warmack's option for next season. You just couldn't pay a guy like Warmack 12 million dollars in 2017. While he's been a disappointment, he certainly hasn't been a total bust either. He's an average guard in the league and the Titans will likely attempt to pay him like one next off-season.
Wright's time in Nashville has been strange, to say the least. All the scheme changes have clearly frustrated Wright as he can't seem to settle in and find his role on this roster. He's one of those guys that leaves you wanting more. Wright's rookie deal will expire this season and I'll be fascinated to see how much of an effort Jon Robinson makes to keep him in town. Maybe a contract year is the motivation Wright needs to take that next step as a player.
Speaking of guys that leave you wanting more, let's talk about Justin Hunter. I think the acquisitions of Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe should have Justin Hunter looking over his shoulder. He's a guy that has never put it together in the NFL, despite having tons of athletic ability. He's going to have to fight tooth and nail to make the final 53 this season.
We continue down the list of sub-par 2013 draft picks with Blidi Wreh-Wilson. He's been given every opportunity to take the number two corner role and run with it, but it just didn't workout. With McCourty, Cox, McCain, Blake and two late round draft picks on the roster, it's impossible to find a spot for Blidi on the 53 this season.
McCluster has shown us flashes during his time here, but nothing of real substance. He's a gadget-type player that can win with quickness in space, but I wouldn't count on him getting a roster spot over Antonio Andrews or David Cobb this season.
Pitoitua has been a pretty decent role player for the Titans over the last couple of seasons. He's bridged the gap to DaQuan Jones and Austin Johnson, but his days are numbered. I count at least six lineman that would rank ahead of Pitoitua simply because of salary and age. He's set to make three million in 2016.
I thought Fasano could be in trouble with all of the tight end prospects that the Titans were meeting with, but none were selected this season. I think Fasano is safe for 2016, but likely a goner next off-season.
Klug has been an outstanding situational guy for this defense. He hasn't really fit the bill of a 3-4 base end, but he's specialized in a nickel interior pass rushing role. I'll be interested to see how much Jon Robinson values him going forward.
Schwenke was set to become the Titans' center for the next decade, but injuries and inconsistent play have brought his status into question. With Ben Jones in the fold along with Andy Gallik, look for Schwenke to get work at guard to make the final 53.
Spence signed a one year deal with the Titans this offseason. He's going to offer speed and athleticism at linebacker, something the Titans could really use. He's on a prove yourself deal this year and could attract a long term suitor with a good showing.
Byron Bell just isn't a starter in this league anymore. He was brought back this season as an insurance policy as he'll likely play the sixth offensive lineman role, subbing in for anyone at guard or tackle that might happen to go down.
We've seen flashes from Stafford, but he hasn't been given a long term chance to prove what he can do. With the addition of Kevin Byard, it looks like Stafford will play a deep reserve role once again.
Cassel has turned into quite the journeyman. He's made stops in Kansas City, Minnesota, Dallas and now Nashville and is set to man the backup quarterback role behind Marcus Mariota. It's pretty clear that the Titans' staff wanted a veteran presence behind Mariota with the release of Zach Mettenberger.
Johnson signed a one year deal with the Titans and will likely start at free safety this season. If Johnson can bring some stability and consistency to the secondary, don't be surprised to see him back in 2017. Kevin Byard is the one to watch with Johnson. If he comes along like he should, Johnson may not be needed as a starter going forward.
Stevens does all the dirty work that nobody notices. He's a blocking specialist and a third option as a pass catching tight end. He contributed quite a bit last season and appears to have a roster spot locked down for 2016. If Mike Mularkey is still around in 2017, I would guess Stevens is as well.
Blake signed a one year deal with the Titans this off-season. He will provide depth on the outside behind McCourty and Cox, giving the team another veteran presence. However, he's got two late round picks sitting behind him on the depth chart in LeShaun Sims and Kalan Reed.
Antonio Andrews (RFA)
Andrews has gone from the starter to RB3 at best for this season. I'll be interested to see how the front office views him versus David Cobb or even Dexter McCluster. Andrews' issue is that he's similar to Derrick Henry's style and doesn't offer much more outside of power. Will Mularkey want to keep four running backs on the 53? That may be the question that seals Andrews fate with the Titans this season. If he does stick, I have a hard time seeing him make it to 2017 with all the roster moves made at the running back position.
Other 2017 Free Agents: David Bass, Phillip Supernaw (RFA), Justin Staples (RFA), Josh Aubrey, B.W. Webb
2017 Exclusive Rights Free Agents (Max two years of NFL service, ERFAs must sign with prior team, unless the team deems them non-exclusive): Tre McBride, Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, Andrew Turzili, Alex Tanney