Late last week, a report surfaced via ProFootballTalk and Terry McCormick that the Tennessee Titans and starting safety Amani Hooker have held “preliminary discussions” regarding a contract extension. With that news squarely on our radar, it’s worth analyzing what a Hooker extension could look like.
Hooker is one of several members of Tennessee’s impressive 2019 rookie class that is entering an ever-important contract season in 2022. The others include inside linebacker David Long Jr, starting right guard Nate Davis, and elite defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons (who unlike the others, will be retained through 2023 via a fifth-year option the Titans have already exercised). A.J. Brown would be on this list had the Titans not traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The former Iowa standout is scheduled to make $2.54 million in base salary in 2022 with a manageable $2.724 million cap hit. It represents a bargain for Titans General Manager Jon Robinson, who will have to award Hooker with a sizable contract if he hopes to keep him in Tennessee beyond 2022.
When forecasting what an extension for Hooker could possibly look like, it’s worth paying attention to recent happenings at the safety market. Like every other position this offseason, safety has grown in value as a result of recent deals. Minkah Fitzpatrick recently signed a four-year contract extension with the Pittsburgh Steelers worth $73.6 million, including $36 million in guaranteed money. Earlier this offseason, the Baltimore Ravens signed Marcus Williams to a five-year contract worth $70 million. Furthermore, Jessie Bates III and Derwin James are in line to receive new deals, and could help reset the market once again.
Hooker isn’t expected to receive a deal that mirrors what Fitzpatrick and Williams received, but those deals have raised the floor for potential negotiations. It’s plausible to believe Hooker and his representation could be targeting the three-year, $31.5 million contract Justin Reid signed with the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this offseason. Reid’s deal will pay him an AAV of $10.5 million, making him the 13th highest-paid safety on an annual basis (extensions for Bates and James could push him further down the list). Hooker falls somewhere within this range.
Hooker and Reid recorded nearly identical numbers last season. Reid totaled one less tackle (61), one less pass breakup (three) and one more interception (two). Reid has been a starter longer than Hooker has, but Hooker has leveled the playing field in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, and is slightly younger than Reid is.
A four-year deal worth approximately $48 million ($12 million annually) should represent the ceiling for a Hooker extension. It’s always difficult to predict where negotiations may be heading, but Titans fans should expect Hooker to sign a multi-year extension that costs somewhere between $10 and $12 million annually. Anything less would represent a massive victory for Robinson, and anything more would be an overpay.
Hooker started 12 games last season, missing five with a groin injury, and made 62 tackles, one interception, four pass breakups and a forced fumble. Stay tuned to MCM.