When talking about the 2014 NFL Draft, many believe it is one of the best all-around classes in years. In the first thirteen picks alone, superstars such as Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack, Aaron Donald, and Odell Beckham Jr. were selected. One player who seems to be forgotten, but has developed into a perennial pro-bowler is Tennessee Titans’ left tackle Taylor Lewan. Lewan was selected with the eleventh pick in the 2014 draft. He has since become one of the best tackles in football and one of the most unique personalities in the league. The Titans exercised his fifth-year option last month. Like the other stars in this draft, Lewan will be looking for a big payday sooner rather than later.
Why should Lewan get paid?
Taylor Lewan has established himself as one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL over the past two seasons. In 2016, Lewan gave up just one sack during the season and followed up with only four in 2017. His hard-nosed play has helped turn around a team that went from winning only five games in his first two seasons to a playoff win. This physical play has gained the respect of fans and players alike earning him two consecutive Pro Bowl and NFL Top 100 appearances.
This year’s appearance on the countdown list showcased his unique and hilarious personality that Titans fans have known since he arrived to the rest of the world. He heckled the producers of the show in order to figure out his ranking including some choice language and talking about his Michigan connection with Tom Brady. This is definitely not the only time Lewan has brought life and attention to a mostly overlooked franchise. His trips to the local Predators’ games with the rest of the offensive line drew national attention on social media. Drinking a beer out of a catfish is sure to do that. His party animal nature gives personality to a team normally seen as boring around the league.
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The face of the franchise.
The team rallies around him. He has even brought the whole team together to play a Fortnite-esque game called “The Titan Games”. Lewan has become the face of the franchise, an uncommon occurrence for an offensive lineman. Teammates and fans alike love the former first-round pick and his passion for the team and the game. However, even more than this, the protector of the blindside has created a strong bond with his quarterback Mariota. Fans were ready to run through a brick wall for the big left tackle after he got in the face of star cornerback Richard Sherman for a late hit on the quarterback. Despite some troubles with penalties earlier in his career, Lewan has become more disciplined while keeping his aggressive nature. He is a top-tier offensive lineman in NFL and deserves to be paid like one.
How much will he be paid?
Last season, Lewan looked like a shoe-in to become the highest paid tackle in football. Russell Okung leading the way making $13.25 million annually. However, Nate Solder signed a 4-year contract with the New York Giants. It’s worth $62 million making him the highest paid tackle in the league at $15.5 million per year. Despite the raised values, Lewan should still surpass this amount. Lewan has become a star on the field and a fan favorite off of it giving Jon Robinson no choice but to keep him in Nashville long term at whatever price necessary.
Lewan signs a 5-year deal worth $80 million and becomes the richest offensive lineman ever. This contract should be heavily front-loaded to make room for big deals. Mariota and Lewan’s fellow bookend tackle Jack Conklin’s contracts are on the horizon.