Tennessee Titans: Grading Contracts of Al Woods, Charlie Whitehurst

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Aug. 25, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Al Woods (65) jumps to make a tackle on Buffalo Bills quarterback Vince Young (10) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Steelers beat the Bills 38-7. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Al Woods – Defensive Lineman

If you are purely looking at stats for Al Woods, you will not be impressed. He has not racked up that many tackles or sacks as primarily a part-time player in Pittsburgh. The Titans view him as a lineman that can play a variety of positions along the line in Ray Horton’s hybrid 3-4 defensive scheme, so his versatility makes him valuable to the Titans.

2014 Outlook

Woods gets a base salary of merely $900,000 for 2014, and half of his $1 million signing bonus will count against the cap. That makes his cap number $1.4 million for 2014. This is a low cap number for a player that the Titans are excited to get on the defensive line. He may not be a flashy signing, but he makes for  good depth for a rebuilding defense at a reasonable price.

2015 and Beyond

Woods’ base salary will more than double in 2015 if he remains on the roster. His base salary will jump to $2.1 million, and the other half of his signing bonus will count against the cap. That makes his 2015 cap number $2.6 million. If he brings what the Titans are expecting, this is very affordable.

If, however, he disappoints in 2014, and the Titans decide to part ways with the lineman, cutting him will only cost $500,000 in dead money. He is very affordable to keep or cut in either year of his 2-year deal.

 Grade:

Perceived Need: 1/3 - The Titans are re-shaping their defense for the new era of Titans football, but I’m not sure where all of the linemen will fit.

Currently on the depth chart, there are 10 defensive linemen to include superstar Jurrell Casey, recently re-signed run plugger Ropati Pitoitua, resident big-boy Sammie Lee Hill, former first-rounder Derrick Morgan, role-player Karl Klug, and recent mid-round picks Mike Martin and Lavar Edwards.

The Titans definitely have a method to their madness, but at first glance this does not look like a huge need.

Contract Dollars: 2/2 – No matter how you cut it, they signed Woods cheaply. Even a rotational lineman that has a defined role is a steal with a cap number at less than $2 million in his first season.

Cap Hit Structure: 2/2 – This is another easy one. When you can sign a player that you have high hopes for with minimal risk should it not work out – you do it. The Titans can get out of this deal next season for $500,000, so it’s a great cap structure.

Talent Level: 2/3 – On limited snaps in 2013, Woods was able to grade out positively for Pro Football Focus.

Total Grade for signing Al Woods? 7/10 – Fans can be pleased that they got a very low-risk investment in a player that might impact a porous run defense immediately.

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