June 02, 2020

Free agency looms, how aggressive will Titans be?

Free agency looms, how aggressive will Titans be?

The free agency “legal tampering” period is upon us, just ahead of the new league year which opens officially on Wednesday.

The Tennessee Titans are expected to be players in the market at least at a few need positions as the free agency period is set to begin.

Titans general manager Jon Robinson said at the NFL Combine a few weeks ago that the Titans would explore adding a veteran wide receiver to their young wideout room. After bowing out in the Antonio Brown sweepstakes – the guess is that the Titans probably didn’t want to commit the $50 million contract that the Raiders did to for a 31-year-old receiver – Tennessee will have some less expensive options to peruse on the open market.

One player  that could intrigue the Titans is Adam Humphries, who was signed as by the Tampa Bay Bucs as an undrafted rookie from Clemson, when Robinson was Jason Licht’s top personnel man in Tampa. Humphries, 26, caught 76 passes for the Bucs last year, but according to reports, might not be brought back in free agency.

Another intriguing receiver in free agency is Tyrell Williams of the Chargers, who had 1,059 yards in 2016 after going undrafted as a rookie in 2015. Williams had 653 yards on 41 catches last season for the Chargers. He would add some much-needed explosiveness for the Titans, as he averaged nearly 16 yards a reception a year ago.

If the Titans are to go with a veteran, local product Golden Tate, who played at Pope John Paul II in Hendersonville, is on the market. The Titans apparently made a swipe at Tate when he was on the trade market last fall, but the Lions instead dealt him to the Eagles. Tate, 31, may not be the threat he once was, but his 74 receptions last year, still topped the production of any Titans receiver.

On the offensive line, the Titans have question. It appears they will allow left guard Quinton Spain to test the market, leaving a hole on the offensive line to be filled.

Defensively, Robinson said at the Combine that safety Kenny Vaccaro was a “primary target” to retain, and there have been multiple reports that the Titans will release safety Johnathan Cyprien, who  missed all of last season.

It would not be surprising to see the Titans in the hunt for an edge pass rusher, even though this year’s draft is deeper than normal at the position. Brian Orakpo retired, and Derrick Morgan heads to free agency after an injury-wracked year in 2018.

The top two edge rusher available (among those not franchised) might be Trey Flowers of New England, who could be headed for a big pay day. The Titans have their share of ex-Patriots, but it will be interesting to see if Robinson makes an aggressive play for Flowers.

Another player the Titans might go after is Baltimore’s Za’Darius Smith, who had a solid year with the Ravens, and knows Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees well.

Also, recent cap cut Justin Houston, let go by Kansas City, is on the open market after the Chiefs decided not to pay his $15 million base.

There are plenty of other lesser heralded players on the market as well, and the Titans might be tempted to bargain shop after first wave of players – and the big money – stops flowing after the first week of free agency.

Among the Titans own free agents, other than Vaccaro and Spain, the Titans could be losing three other players who started or had prominent roles last year – Morgan, tight end Luke Stocker and nose tackle Bennie Logan. The remainder are role players and special teamers.

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