Jeffery Simmons' contract comments alarming, but don't panic yet

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are 5-2 and heading to a huge Sunday night game in Kansas City, but fans are understandably feeling angst after Jeffery Simmons opened up about his contract situation in a piece at The Athletic.

He described his offseason contract conversation with the Titans like this:


Courtesy Tennessee Titans

“It was, ‘We want you to be here, but we don’t know exactly when we’ll be able to pay you,’” Simmons said. “The Titans were like, ‘We don’t know if we’re going to be able to offer you what you think you are worth. We want to pay you, but we don’t know where it’s going to come from.’ That’s basically what it was, not an offer.”

Simmons had a hold-in during June mini-camp where Mike Vrabel said the best thing for him was film study. Simmons told The Athletic he contemplated a training camp holdout but ultimately decided against it and reported.

“What I’m making this year, some guys who just got in here are making,” he says. “When you are talking about D-line, you have to think about the No. 1 guy in the league, Aaron Donald. I’m making $2 million. He’s making $30 million. I asked myself, ‘Do I want to go risk that?’”

The “we don’t know where it’s going to come from” is the most concerning element of this.

Is that strictly cap related? Or does it go to a deeper liquidity issue connected to Amy Adams Strunk's buyout of her sister's share of the team not long ago and her upcoming spending on the new stadium?

I’ve presumed the Titans would give Simmons a big contract after the 2022 season, with four years of work on his resume. Digging around a bit, I still believe they will.

After trading A.J. Brown in a contract dispute after three years, if the Titans didn’t pay Simmons, there would be a fan uprising.

But the Titans have control of him in 2023 under the fifth-year option they exercised in May. That will boost his salary to $10.75 million, still well below what he will be worth.

And they can put a franchise tag on him in 2024.

I find the quotes concerning – and Simmons had zero to say when asked about them today.

But I believe the Titans view him as a bedrock player they intend to make every effort to reward for his production, work ethic and leadership.

The Titans are almost $12 million over a $225 million salary cap next year per Over The Cap.

Kuharsky megaphoneI expect something will happen that will lessen the numbers for Ryan Tannehill ($36.6 million), Taylor Lewan ($14.84 million) and Zach Cunningham ($13.75 million). And the first-year number on a long-term deal for a player of Simmons' caliber is not typically that big.

Fret away. The comments coming from Simmons, who previously, staunchly declined to say anything that gave the slightest hint of his feelings or any details of where things stood, are big and alarming.

But I feel they are more about where the Titans were before 2022 than 2023.

I hope he’ll be as candid then with an update and that the Titans will do the right thing with a player who’s arguably their best.

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