INDIANAPOLIS _ Kenny Vaccaro proved to be a life-saver for the Tennessee Titans at the strong safety position.
Vaccaro, a former first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints, didn’t sign with the Titans until August after starter Johnathan Cyprien went down with a torn ACL and was lost for the season.
Vaccaro came in an started alongside Kevin Byard for the Titans in 2018. He played in 13 games (missing three weeks with an elbow injury) and had one interception, two sacks and 58 total tackles.
Vaccaro’s play impressed Titans GM Jon Robinson, who said Wednesday at the NFL Combine that bringing back Vaccaro is one of Tennessee’s priorities in free agency.
“Losing Cyprien last year early in the training camp process was a setback, but fortunately for us, Kenny was available,” Robinson said. “Kenny came in and played really good football for us. We’re kind of working through several things right now with him and with that position group as a whole. There are some guys in free agency – Kenny being a primary target – and some guys in the draft. We’ll just kind of see how that manufactures itself and how it plays out here in the end.”
Titans coach Mike Vrabel also was impressed with Vaccaro’s play after he joined the club.
“He’s physical. He loves football. He came in an did a great job, learned the system quickly. He plays hard. I think he’s a good teammate, all those things we talk about,” Vrabel said.
Vaccaro apparently wants to return as well, as one reporter informed Vrabel that Vaccaro had been saying online that he would like to remain a Titan.
“That’s good. I’m glad our players want to play for our organization and our coaches. We’re never going to do something that’s not going to be in the best interest of the player or the team… Kenny came in and right away proved himself. He didn’t talk a whole lot. He just practiced really hard and got ready to go and played in the games and did a good job for us,” Vrabel said.
The question now becomes whether or not there is room for both Vaccaro and Cyprien on the roster. Cyprien signed a free agent deal with the Titans in 2017, a contract that has two more years to run. Cyprien is scheduled to make $5.5 million in base salary. If Cyprien were to be let go, he would count $1.5 million in dead money for 2019.
Vrabel complimented Cyprien’s work in coming back from the injury.
“This is going back to training camp. He had a great off-season and he was learning, studying and moving well. His attitude has been great. I’ve seen him in our building. He stops and walks around and walks by. He was one of the players that helped us with the reading event last week. He’s got a great attitude. He’s doing everything he can to rehab and get back to where he was before the injury,” Vrabel said.