The Tennessee Titans held their first practice of training camp on Thursday with a lot up in the air. Taylor Lewan was not participating in team drills until he signed a new contract. Delanie Walker was entering the final year of his deal and there was no sign of negotiations to extend him. Friday all of that changed.
Lewan’s Record Breaking Extension
Before the team took the field on Friday, the big news of the day came out. Star left tackle Taylor Lewan signed a new extension for five years worth $80 million with $50 million guaranteed. This is the largest contract ever received by an offensive lineman. Lewan held out of the team’s mandatory mini-camp last month looking to gain leverage on a new deal. It looks like it worked as he will start earning an average of $16 million per year.
For the first time in four years, the Titans extended a first round pick. The last Titan first round pick to receive an extension after being selected in the first round was outside linebacker Derrick Morgan. He was followed by Jake Locker, Kendall Wright, and Chance Warmack who all moved on after their rookie deal. Lewan’s extension shows that the team has finally started to draft better in the first round as his extension should be the first of many. He will continue to guard the blindside for the Titans, protecting franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota, for years to come.
Not only is he a star on the field, he has a huge personality off of it. Lewan showed off his new money by dressing up as Boss Hogg from Dukes of Hazard for his press conference. When the doors from the locker room opened, the rest of the offensive line, including center Ben Jones and Lewan’s stuffed beaver Steve, led the big man to the podium. He opened up the conference by saying, “Alright, dad’s here.” Thanks to the extension, Titans fans can get used to the tackle’s great play on Sunday’s and antics off the field.
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Walker Gets a Big Deal at Age 33
Fans may have thought the big news was over after Lewan got his deal, but it got even better. After practice, the news of tight end Delanie Walker’s new contract broke. The Pro Bowl MVP received a two year extension worth $17 million with $12.76 million guaranteed and an $8 million signing bonus. Walker is one of the few Titans, along with Lewan, who had to endure the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The team won just five games over those two seasons. It is great that Walker will be able to stay with the team as they rise towards contention.
Walker has accumulated over 800 yards in each of his last four seasons with Tennessee. He has become a favorite target of Mariota and even led the team in receiving last year at age 32. He will continue to start at tight end for the team in 2018 and should play a big role in the Titans’ new offense.
Jon Robinson showed that he will pay players handsomely if they work hard and produce for the team. Teammates will see this and know they will be rewarded if they help the team win. Also, this keeps two strong veteran offensive players in the fold for years. Marcus Mariota will need his tight end and left tackle to succeed and eventually bring a Lombardi Trophy to Nashville.
Want to continue the conversation? Find Jake on twitter @LymanJake and @FPC_Titans.
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