Dec 23, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt (18) looks to catch a pass as Green Bay Packers safety M.D. Jennings (43) defends during the game at Lambeau Field. The Packers won 55-7. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The Tennessee Titans drafted Kenny Britt with the 30th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Britt was sandwiched between Hakeem Nicks (29th) and Chris “Beanie” Wells (31st). After a 13-3 season, the Titans were hoping that Britt would give them more offensive firepower and balance.
That was 45 months ago. In four seasons, Britt has 146 receptions for 2,354 yards and 19 touchdowns. His best season came in 2010. Britt had 42 receptions for 775 yards and nine touchdowns. In 2011, a knee injury forced Britt to miss 13 games.
Those aren’t astonishing numbers. They’re nothing when compared to his nine police incidents. That’s an average of one police incident every five months. At that rate, Britt will have another incident before training camp starts.
Local fans are getting tired of these shenanigans. These stories reflect poorly on the organization and the city of Nashville. Britt’s contract will expire after the 2013-14 NFL season. There’s no guarantee that management won’t release him before that. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may also have a say in the latest incident.
Should Britt stay or should he go? That’s what fans are arguing. For management? That’s the easy decision. If management keeps Britt, then they’ll face their tough decision:
What if Britt has a breakout season in 2013? Then what does management do? Let’s estimate his value on the open market after a good (not great) season.
In 2011, Laurent Robinson was in his first season with the Dallas Cowboys. That was his third team in five seasons. Robinson finished that season with 54 receptions for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns. During his first four seasons, Robinson had 89 receptions and four touchdowns.
Fast forward to 2012. The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Robinson to a five-year, $32.5-million contract. That’s $6.5 million per season. While Robinson is better-behaved, he doesn’t have the name recognition or potential that Britt has.
Maybe Britt starts to reach his potential in 2013. However, even if Britt doesn’t get into anymore incidents, would management make a long-term commitment to him after just 14 months of staying away from trouble? Are they confident that he didn’t try harder because of a contract year?
The Tennessee Titans could use the franchise tag. That would give them another 12 months to evaluate his behavior. From this point forward, can he stay out of trouble for two years? People can change their environment and friends. Not everyone exercises those rights.
One thing is for certain: if the Titans re-sign Britt, they’d better give him as little guaranteed money as possible. And add a slew of legal clauses, just in case.