At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week, Titans general manager Jon Robinson made no secret that he would be willing to make a deal or two.
After all, Robinson is armed with two first-round picks this year, courtesy of his trade with the Los Angeles Rams last year.
But deal or no deal, Robinson’s primary objective has not changed. His commitment is to improving the Tennessee Titans for 2017, be it through the draft, free agency, getting more from the players currently on the roster or making trades or waiver claims.
“It’s an important part of team-building, evaluating the prospects in this draft class,” Robinson said Wednesday in Indianapolis. “I’m just excited to continue to lay down the foundation that we started last year.”
Last year, adding to that foundation meant dealing the top overall pick to the Rams and then maneuvering around until he landed Jack Conklin with the eighth overall choice.
Now, with the Rams’ choice (fifth overall) and the Titans’ own pick at No. 18, Robinson is in a good spot, though he will have to wait and see how the draft unfolds most likely before deciding what his move will be.
“It’s got to be a two-way street. We’ve got to have somebody that wants to move up to that spot, but like I said last year, we’re open for business and willing to have discussions and just trying to put ourselves in position to improve the football team,” Robinson said.
Any potential trade out probably wouldn’t happen until the Titans are close to or on the clock, unlike last year when Robinson dealt the pick to LA a couple of weeks before draft day.
“We’re in a little different position at five than we were last year (at one). There’s gonna be four players off the board before our team’s pick,” Robinson said. “We’ll see as the process goes along. Some of those conversations might intensify, but for now, I think it’s a little bit early. We’re not really in the driver’s seat in this draft.”
The draft, which is the focus of the Combine this week, is just one part of the equation, however. Free agency begins on March 9, and last year, Robinson was cautiously aggressive with the checkbook, making solid pickups with the likes of receiver Rishard Matthews and center Ben Jones.
Expect a similar approach to filling holes on the roster this year.
Robinson also spoke that the Titans are talking with a few of their own free agents about re-signing with the team. Among the players set to be free agents who might still be in the plans for next season are tight end Anthony Fasano, defensive end Karl Klug (who had Achilles surgery) and possibly backup center/guard Brian Schwenke.
“We’re having some discussions with a couple of those guys now, and we’ll see how it manifests itself,” Robinson said. “We’ve got a week or so before that day looms. The guys that were on the team last year, I can’t say enough about them buying in to what we were trying to build.”
That also includes a few who have high salary cap numbers like cornerback Jason McCourty, who is scheduled to make $7 million in the final year of his deal at a position where the Titans are expected to have a makeover. That salary might not be as much of an issue with the Titans having about $61 million in cap space currently
“He’s under contract for 2017. So we evaluate all the players on the roster and take into account where they’re at. Jason did a lot of good things for us last year. Unfortunately, he got banged up a little bit at the end of the year, but all the guys that are under contract, we’re looking forward to working with them in 2017,” Robinson said.