Time To Pay The Piper

Nashville, TN, United States / The Game Nashville
Time To Pay The Piper

“We are going to be very active; we need to be.”
Those were the words Titans president and CEO Tommy Smith said regarding free agency. NFL free agency doesn’t officially start until Tuesday but Titans fans are already feeling anxious. Why is this? Well there area pair of big reasons that you can point to: 1)The Titans have missed on a number of free agents recently and 2) Many of the top names in this years class are already off the board. So far Ndamukong Suh has taken his talents to South Beach(Miami), Frank Gore and Byron Maxwell are feeling the Brotherly Love(Philadelphia), Randall Cobb is raking in the big cheese(Green Bay), Jeremy Maclin is the new big Chief(Kansas City), and even Devin McCourty turned down playing with his brother, Jason, in order to stay a part of Brady’s Bunch(New England). Tennessee has roughly $46 million under the salary cap, so where do the Titans go from here?
The biggest name that hasn’t had the franchise tag placed on it is DeMarco Murray. While he was very productive last season in Dallas it is unlikely that the Titans will pay top dollar for a possibly aging running back. The Titans would like to add some help along their defensive line and top names like Jerry Hughes and Terrence Knighton are both very good options, Hughes had 10 sacks for the Bills last season and Knighton is one of the best run stoppers in the league. Pernell McPhee is another intriguing name as a pass rusher who had 7 and a half sacks as a backup/situational player in Baltimore last year. The Titans may also look to ad a wide receiver. Top targets Cobb and Maclin are already off the table but there are talented players like Torrey Smith, Denarius Moore, and Michael Crabtree available. There are a couple interesting options at linebacker the Titans could explore with Rolando McClain, Brian Orakpo, Brandon Spikes, and former Titan Akeem Ayers set to hit the open market. This is an area that many expect the Titans to address by signing at least 1 new linebacker. The defensive secondary is also in need of an upgrade, particularly at corner. After missing out on McCourty and Maxwell, as well as Brandon Flowers, the talent pool drops off. The biggest remaining names at the cornerback position are Tramon Williams from Green Bay and Antonio Cromartie of Arizona. Both are high level corners with a combined 59 career interceptions, however Cromartie is 30 years old and Williams is 31. So there are reservations about paying top dollar for either corner, but nobody will be surprised if the Titans make a move on one of them. The Titans have invested a lot of recent resources into the offensive line and that trend may continue with Mike Iupati, Bryan Bulaga, and Brian de la Puenta capping a relatively weak class. The Titans could also look to add a running back to compete with Bishop Sankey as Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster failed to meet expectations last season. After Murray there are no more proven game changers available but Justin Forsett and Ryan Mathews have shown potential while aging veterans like Steven Jackson, Derren McFadden, and DeAngelo Williams could be brought in to both help Sankey develop as well as spell the young back during games. Obviously the biggest need for the Titans is at quarterback but that issue can not be addressed through free agency.
While many of the top names are gone, there are still plenty of players left who can help the Titans. Now its up to the team to make a splash.

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