Titans fans, news has broken that Avery Williamson will sign a 3 year 22.5 million dollar deal with the New York Jets. 16 million of that is going to be guaranteed, that’s a pricey deal for a linebacker of his talent. Williamson was featured in a previous keep or sweep article with us. I actually wanted the Titans to keep him, however, I am certainly not upset that he is not returning to the team. Williamson was a one-dimensional linebacker with the Titans, specializing in stopping the run. It is fairly surprising to see that Williamson got this type of money with teams knowing his struggles in coverage.
Did the Titans want Williamson back? The easy answer to that question is yes, they did offer him a contract to stay. The contract they offered was a 4 year 12 million dollar deal. Not surprisingly, he turned that down and got more guaranteed money with the Jets than the total offer from the Titans. We knew there was a possibility that Williamson would test the open market, so this move shouldn’t shock anyone. The money, however, is a little shocking. He is from Tennessee but he was only going to stay if they could both agree on his value. He was obviously not open to a hometown discount, so now he finds himself with the New York Jets.
What does this mean for Tennessee? Tennessee prepared for this, whether they knew it or not. They drafted Jayon Brown and he played all 18 games last year, on his rookie contract Brown was always the more cost-efficient option. Williamson helped the defense more than people might realize, but paying that kind of money for a two-down linebacker just didn’t add up for the Titans.
Now that Williamson has departed, look for the Titans to add some linebacker depth in the draft. There will be solid options at their draft slot if they choose to go that route. They could go out and draft Rashaan Evans out of Alabama or even Leighton Vander Esch from Boise State. Both would be a very solid upgrade from Williamson. On rookie contracts and with their size and athleticism, both would seemly be good in coverage at the next level.
Long story short, it’s certainly not the end of the world for the Titans. Losing him was something they knew they could afford. An explosive rookie linebacker could be exactly what the Titans are looking for in the draft. This is a move that the Titans will easily recover from, we wish Williamson the best of luck in New York.