Welcome to Music City Miracles’ Tennessee Titans 2023 NFL Free Agency Primer! Free agency is set to begin on March 15th, but the Titans are able to re-sign their own free agents before then. New general manager Ran Carthon and head coach Mike Vrabel have already begun collaborating on their vision for the 2023 Titans. Carthon and Vrabel will collaborate on various sizable decisions.
The Titans currently possess 25 free agents (20 unrestricted), including several key starters and role players. Over the next few weeks, we’ll take an in-depth look at each free agent and provide arguments for why the Titans should, or shouldn’t re-sign that player. We’ll also offer our final verdict and a prediction to go along with our analysis.
Today, we’re analyzing rotational defensive linemen DeMarcus Walker.
Name: DeMarcus Walker
Position: Defensive Line
Current Age: 28
Why the Titans should re-sign Walker: DeMarcus Walker wrote one of the best individual storylines of the Titans’ 2022 campaign. Walker more than exceeded expectations after signing a one-year, $1.035 million contract with the Titans late into free agency. Walker responded by recording 7.0 sacks. Walker ranked third on the team in quarterback takedowns, trailing just Denico Autry (8.0) and Jeffery Simmons (7.5). Walker was a consistent performer. In addition to his impressive sack totals, Walker also recorded 32 pressures and 16 quarterback hits, per Pro Football Focus.
Walker is also a versatile defender that aligned at multiple positions across Tennessee’s defensive line. That front multiplicity is highly valued by Vrabel and position coach Terrell Williams. The Titans are going to need bodies at the position. Bud Dupree is an expected cap casualty and Harold Landry is returning from a difficult season-ending ACL injury.
According to @pfref, DeMarcus Walker (@livinglegend_44) finished first in TFLs (10), second in QB hits (16), third in sacks (7) & fifth in pressures (15) on the team while only playing 37% of the defensive snaps. Those stats are career highs for him. Hard work pays off! #Titans pic.twitter.com/cbQq8MIY1k— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) January 9, 2023
Why the Titans should let Walker walk: Walker is undeniably going to demand a noticeable pay raise after outperforming his paychecks in 2022. At times, it felt Walker’s production was a product of the attention that Simmons and Autry demand from opposing O-lines. Tennessee’s pass rush fell off a cliff following injuries to Simmons and Autry. Instead of re-signing Walker, the Titans could take a lower-cost gamble on another similar player that’s willing to sign a one-year prove-it deal.
Projected Contract: Spotrac is projecting Walker to sign a one-year contract worth $3.275 million. That would be approximately $2.5 million more than the Titans paid Walker in 2022. It feels like a fair projection considering Walker’s 2022 outputs.
Final verdict: The Titans should make a valiant effort to re-sign Walker. He’s a key depth piece that’s capable of playing multiple positions. Walker is an ideal fit for Vrabel and Shane Bowen’s defensive scheme. With some changes coming to the D-line, Walker can offer a steadying presence behind Landry and Autry in 2023.
Prediction: The Titans re-sign Walker to another one-year deal worth approximately $3 million.
What are your thoughts? Should the Titans re-sign Walker? Leave your opinion in the comments.