NASHVILLE, Tenn. – New Titans general manager Ran Carthon has made his biggest move yet by agreeing Friday to a four-year contract extension with two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The Titans picked up the two-time defensive captain's fifth-year option for 2023 for $10.76 million last April. The person confirmed the extension on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the Titans had not announced the deal.
ESPN.com first reported the deal was worth up to $94 million with $66 million guaranteed, including a $24 million signing bonus.
“We have so much work to do!” Simmons wrote.
The four-year extension gives some much-needed space under the salary cap for Tennessee, ranked 23rd in the NFL with $7.4 million according to Spotrac.com.
The extension includes Simmons' fifth-year option, keeping him under contract through 2027 for an annual average of $23.5 million per year. Among NFL defensive tackles, that trails only the $31.6 million per year averaged by three-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams.
Simmons was the 19th pick overall in the 2019 draft, dropping to Tennessee after tearing his left ACL in February preparing for the draft.
The 6-foot-4, 305-pound lineman wound up starting seven of nine games played as a rookie in 2019, and he has started 54 of 56 games played. Simmons missed two games last season with an injured ankle and said at the end of the season he needed shots in his ankle to finish the season.
Simmons has been a Pro Bowl pick each of the past two seasons. He set a career-high with 8 1/2 sacks in 2021, and he finished second last season with 7 1/2 sacks, leading the Titans in sacks in five games. He also had nine tackles for loss with 43 quarterback pressures with 53 tackles.
Carthon, hired in January, replaced Jon Robinson who was fired Dec. 6 after the Titans used more players in each of the past two seasons than any other team in the NFL. Tennessee lost its final seven games to finish 7-10 and just missed a third straight AFC South title.
This extension means the new general manager has taken care of the Titans' biggest issue in keeping a top player happy. Robinson traded wide receiver A.J. Brown to Philadelphia during the first round of the draft last year after being unable to agree on a new contract.
Carthon still has to decide what to do about quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has a cap hit of $36.6 million, and three-time Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry, with his own $16.3 million salary cap hit. Both are in the final year of their current contracts.
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