Important NFL offseason dates for the Tennessee Titans

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Mike Moraitis
·4 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson will have his work cut out for him during the 2021 NFL offseason.

The Titans have a grand total of 27 free agents to make decisions on, but Robinson also needs to bring some help from outside the organization to bolster the team on both sides of the ball, and in particular on defense.

Robinson will then have to navigate the 2021 NFL draft and try to not only further improve the roster for next season, but also begin looking ahead to the years to come.

Making things more difficult is the fact that the Titans have limited funds to spare.

If the NFL salary cap does indeed land at the latest reported figure of $180-$181 million, Tennessee will be roughly $3 million over the cap, so expect some cuts and maybe restructures to occur in order to free up space.

But when will all the fun of the 2021 offseason really begin? Let’s see by taking a look at the most important dates that are rapidly approaching.

February 23-March 9: Franchise/Transition Tag window

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans have the option of placing either the franchise or transition tag on a player once again this offseason. In 2020, it was Derrick Henry who received the latter, but the Titans eventually signed him to an extension. In 2021, the Titans don't have any free-agent-to-be worth using the tag on. The only players that come remotely close are Jonnu Smith, Jayon Brown and Corey Davis. However, when you consider what the tags could cost at those positions, you can see why it likely won't happen for anyone in that trio (per Over the Cap): Franchise/Transition for WR: $16.4/$14.9 million Franchise/Transition for TE: $10.1/$8.5 million Franchise/Transition for LB: $15.6/$13.4 million Davis and Brown certainly aren't worth either price tag, but the $8.5 million transition tag price for Smith is actually close to his estimated market value via Spotrac, which is $8 million annually. Still, we don't think he gets it.

March 15-17: Legal tampering period for free agents

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

While teams can't officially sign unrestricted free agents until March 17 at 4 p.m. ET, they can start talking to their agents and negotiating in the days prior. That means we could start seeing some action with the Titans via reports starting on March 15.

March 17: Start of 2021 league year (4 p.m. ET)

(George Walker IV/The Tennessean via AP, Pool)

At 4 p.m. ET on this date, players' contracts officially expire and teams can start signing unrestricted free agents to new deals. On top of that, any trades agreed to beforehand, and after, can be made official.

April 23: Last day for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Per NFL.com, here's a look at the definition of a restricted free agent and how teams can handle players with this designation:

Restricted free agent (RFA): A player with three accrued seasons and an expired contract. RFAs are free to negotiate and sign with any team, but their original team can offer them one of various qualifying offers ("tenders") that come with the right of first refusal and/or draft-pick compensation. If the tender is withdrawn by a team, the RFA becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Of Tennessee's 27 free agents, five of them are restricted: Matt Dickerson, Jamil Douglas, D'Onta Foreman, Anthony Firkser and Joshua Kalu. The biggest name on that list is no doubt Firkser, who has been a fairly valuable contributor in the passing game. We expect the Titans to try and bring him back, and he could see an increased role if Smith leaves.

April 29-May 1: 2021 NFL draft

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

This is going to be a big one for Robinson, whose 2020 draft class was a major disappointment in its first season. The Titans will pick at No. 22 overall in the first round and will have at least one pick in each of the first six rounds, including two in the sixth and potentially two in the third but none in the seventh. The extra third-rounder is projected at the moment and comes in the form of a compensatory pick after Jack Conklin signed with the Cleveland Browns. Tennessee was set to have three sixth-round picks before acquiring Desmond King for one at the deadline. The Titans received extra sixth-rounders thanks to a draft-day trade with the Chiefs last year and the deal that sent Kamalei Correa and a seventh-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars. It isn't clear which sixth-round pick was sent to the Chargers for King, though.

1

1