The Titans will have one of their starting defenders in place in time for the start of minicamp today. Defensive tackle Teair Tart has signed his restricted free agent tender, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).
Tennessee tendered him at the second-round level in March, leaving open the possibility of an offer sheet. As expected, nothing emerged on that front, though, and Tart will remain in the fold for the 2023 season. He will earn $4.3MM this year, but a continuation of his play to date could set himself up for more in the future.
The former UDFA joined the Titans in 2020, and he was used in a rotational capacity right away with a 31% snap share on defense. He took on starting duties the following season, seeing an uptick in usage along the way. His level of play in his second campaign increased expectations for he and the team heading into 2023, and Tart did not disappoint.
The 26-year-old was a full-time starter last season, and he set new career-highs across the board. Tart racked up 34 tackles, 1.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, 12 QB pressures, one fumble recovery, one interception and six pass deflections. Those totals helped result in a new personal mark in terms of PFF evaluation, as well; the Florida International alum earned an overall grade of 73.1, which ranked 22nd among all DTs in the NFL.
Tart is in line to remain a first-teamer alongside Pro Bowler Jeffery Simmons on the interior of the Titans’ defensive line. That unit helped Tennessee rank first in the league in run defense last season, and the team has responded by making only a minor depth addition (in the form of Jaleel Johnson) so far in free agency. Tart will look to replicate his success of the past two seasons, knowing a strong performance this season could yield another signficant jump in compensation in 2024.