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The market price for prospective free agent defensive linemen has been set. On Thursday, Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders made Tommy Kelly (who?) the league’s highest paid defensive tackle by granting him a seven year deal worth up to $50 million, with about $18 million guaranteed. That’s an absurd price for a slightly above average defensive lineman coming off of an ACL injury.
As we all know, Titan defensive linemen Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy are unrestricted free agents this offseason. Their relatively youthful ages and recent production strongly suggest that both players will have their share of suitors during the beginning of the free agent signing period. As Andrew’s recent article regarding the defensive end position points out, the Titans may have a hole or two to fill on their defensive line this offseason.
As a result of Kelly’s record contract, the cost required to re-sign Odom and/or LaBoy has most likely become more expensive.

Odom will probably be the biggest beneficiary of Oakland’s kindness towards Kelly, as a result of his eight sack performance last season and relatively injury-free career thus far. LaBoy has had his share of injury concerns, but is still young and talented enough to garner the attention of teams that are desperate for pass rushers.
Even Albert Haynesworth should be able to benefit from the Kelly deal. Despite his status as the Titans’ designated franchise player, the potential dollars involved in a long term deal for Haynesworth probably increased exponentially as a result of Kelly’s contract. No disrespect to Kelly, but Haynesworth is several times the player Kelly has been or ever will be and Albert’s long term deal will undoubtedly reflect the Grand Canyon-sized gap between their talent levels.
The defensive line is one of the most pivotal positions in today’s NFL. As the oft- repeated cliché states, games are often won in the trenches. Look no further than New York’s upset Super Bowl victory over the seemingly unbeatable Patriots as an example of the impact an effective defensive line can have on a dominant offense.
With a ton of cap room at their disposal, the Titans should be able to make solid offers to Odom and/or LaBoy if they deem them as players who must be retained. However, as a result of the ridiculous contract given out to Tommy Kelly, the road to re-signing Odom and LaBoy just got a little bumpier.

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7 Responses to “”

  1. jrtitans Says:

    Tommy Who? Gentlemen, let the overspending begin!

  2. wacko jacko in remington Says:

    Wow, the money has gotten crazy in the NFL. I can’t believe the deal Kelly got! There must be so much dough coming in from TV and merchandising that all sense of fiscal reality for the fans must be completely abandoned. It blows my financial mind. Did guys like Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown ever make more than $100,000 in a season? Probably not—I remember guys in the 60’s, 70’s and ’80’s nearly all had a second job in the offseason to make ends meet.

  3. David H. Says:

    The Titans are doing exactly what I think they should do… Take a laid back approach early on, while everyone else spends their money foolishly. I just hope they aren’t too laid back this year.

  4. jrtitans Says:

    seems like Reiny is pretty smart with the money. I would be ok with this kind of money being spent on Big Al–I just wonder if someone is going to step in and really bust it out. The RFAs like Stewart and Bironas I like but with the money to beat and give up a first or second rounder respectively doesnt leave the Titans empty handed. Some say the Titans will sit back for 10 days. (probably the smart thing to do )but Im really anxious 🙂

  5. Patrick Patterson Says:

    Tommy Kelly got a bit overpaid. (understatement alert) But, that is going to be the story of this entire FA period, a thin crop of players and a large amount of cap room is going to equal big bucks.

  6. tim Says:

    i love how the so called writer of this ridiculous one sided article states “tommy who” yet then knew that he was an above average d tackle! the writer knows zero about the afc west or the game as if he did he would understand the vital importance of interior lineman in the nfl……..4 other teams stated publicly they would have bid and attempted to sign Kelly as well. Is the money ridiculous? maybe, maybe not since it is NOT yours to spend. If you dont like the money paid out then go write a blog about the AFL and AFL2 where players compete to become overpaid slobs!

  7. Drexel Perry Says:

    Tim,
    Would the 4 other teams had signed Kelly at that price?
    I am aware that Kelly is a “solid” tackle, as my article indicates. However, even MVN’s own Raider expert in a post above yours states that Kelly got a bit overpaid, to say the least.
    As for the others, thanks for the comments guys.

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