The Tennessee Titans continued to remake their team this NFL offseason as they slowly transition away from the Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, and A.J. Brown Era, and to whoever defines the next era of Nashville football. In this vein, the Titans cut some well-known players and made some good moves in the NFL draft. But what was the riskiest move they made? The Andre Dillard Titans free agent signing is the biggest risk the team took in the 2023 NFL offseason.

Why the Andre Dillard Titans’ free agent signing is the riskiest move of the 2023 NFL offseason

In the 2022 NFL offseason, the Titans’ biggest move as part of their soft rebuild was trading superstar wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles. This year, the Titans parted ways with more well-known players, such as outside linebacker Bud Dupree and tight end Austin Hooper.

However, the team also brought in some good young players as Titans' free agents, like OLB Arden Key and cornerback Sean Bunting.

The biggest transition on the Titans’ roster this NFL offseason, though, was on the offensive line. For the bulk of the Mike Vrabel years, the five bullies upfront have been the unsung heroes of the Titans. They are the group that allowed Derrick Henry to rumble for historic numbers and kept a mediocre QB like Tannehill upright and looking good.

In 2023, the Titans cut one-time Pro Bowl center Ben Jones, three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan, and let starting right guard, Nate Davis, leave in free agency to sign with the Chicago Bears.

Yes, Jones and Lewan are both on the wrong side of 30 and oft-injured at this point in their careers. In fact, Lewan is suing the doctors who did the surgery on his knee. But life without these two will be tough for the Titans.

So, this offseason the Titans set about redoing the core of their offense along the line.

Tennessee already had interior offensive lineman Aaron Brewer, who started all 17 games at right guard in 2022. This season, the excellent young lineman is moving over to center to replace Jones. Last year’s third-round pick, Nicholas Petit-Frere, is penciled in at right tackle.

In the 2023 NFL Draft, the team took Peter Skowronski from Northwestern, who can play guard or tackle, and should start at guard for the Titans. And the team doubled down on OL in the draft, taking Maryland tackle Jaelyn Duncan in Round 6.

That left the Titans free agent signings, which ended up being former San Francisco 49ers guard Daniel Brunskill and former Philadelphia Eagles tackle Andre Dillard. Brunskill’s deal is a two-year, $5.5 million contract that has an out after one year and $2.58 million, which is nothing in NFL terms.

The Dillard contract is a bit more. The backup Eagles lineman signed a three-year, $29 million deal that will at least cost them two years and $17 million. That’s not a huge risk in terms of what some teams take on a left tackle, but it is the biggest risk the Titans took in free agency this year.

The other reason the Andre Dillard Titans free agent signing is a risk is that Dillard is a four-year NFL player who has been active for 43 games and only started nine, including none last season when the Eagles made their Super Bowl run. He has never taken more than 340 snaps (35%) of his team’s offensive snaps in a given season, and last year, he was on the field for just 35 offensive plays.

Some of the reasons that Dillard didn’t get on the field much is that he had Jordan Mailata ahead of him on the left side and Lane Johnson on the right. But that’s not the only reason. Dillard has struggled with injuries as well, which is exactly what Titans fans don’t want to hear after last year’s Taylor Lewan and Ben Jones situations.

In 2020, he missed the entire season after tearing his biceps in training camp. Then in 2021, he missed a game with a knee injury, despite not playing that often, and in 2022, he was out for five games with a fractured forearm.

In the end, it is just a lot of money to pay for an unproven left tackle with a tough injury history. If it works out and he stays healthy, it is a great move, so the risk is probably worth it. That said, with either rookie Will Levis or second-year signal-caller Malik Willis likely starting at some point this season, you can’t mess around at left tackle, and that’s a little bit what it feels like the Titans are doing with optimistic the Andre Dillard signing.