There has been some thought that Dennis Kelly would still have to compete to be the Tennessee Titans’ starting right tackle if he was brought back and Jack Conklin left in free agency.
However, it appears the Titans have already made a commitment to the 30-year-old that he’ll be the starter on the right side in 2020.
When talking to the media via conference call for the first time since signing a three-year, $21 million deal, Kelly said the Titans made it clear that if Conklin did leave (he did), he’d be the starter on the right side.
Just based on his salary alone ($7 million annual average), it’s clear the Titans aren’t paying Kelly just to see if he can be the starter.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the Titans won’t select a tackle in the draft, but it would take a monumental effort for a rookie to beat Kelly out for the starting job.
Kelly has already proven he’s a starting-caliber right tackle in the NFL, as he performed well in Conklin’s place when he was injured in 2018.
It appears the Titans also had some competition for Kelly, who admits he spoke to other teams before signing back with Tennessee.
The only downside of having Kelly as the starter is that now the Titans will lose the depth they had with him as a backup. Kelly has played both tackle spots and at guard during his career.
Tennessee would be wise to find a lineman with the kind of versatility that Kelly offers, but that won’t be easy.