Jan 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) carries the ball during the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
I know it seems like the most unlikely of circumstances, but Jimmy Graham‘s situation with the New Orleans Saints might actually be a blessing in disguise for the Tennessee Titans.
Graham will command big money pretty soon and the Saints need more cap room to be able to do so. To create that room, the Saints have been looking for expendable options. Lance Moore, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles have been singled out as the casualties of keeping Graham. Moore has already been released and Sproles will be very soon. Thomas is being shopped around, but he very well may end up being cut also.
See where I’m going with this?
Running back Chris Johnson is done in Tennessee. Recent reports have suggested that the Titans are actively looking to trade him, and if they can’t find a suitor they will release him. Given his recent effort and production, not to mention his ridiculous salary, it doesn’t seem like any other team will give up a draft pick for him. So the Titans will most likely be looking for a replacement.
Odds are that they will lean towards using the draft as the means to find replacement. But remember that they signed Shonn Greene during free agency last offseason, granted that was under a different coaching staff. Also remember that Greene was very good in his limited role last season. Personally, I thought he ran much better than CJ and I would hope that he gets a chance to claim the starting job this season. Still, that doesn’t mean that another running back isn’t needed. With Johnson leaving, that would leave only Greene, Jackie Battle and Leon Washington to command the backfield. A better talent should be added.
With Sproles soon to be released and Thomas probably on his way out as well, that talent can be added by signing either one of them.
We’re all well aware of what Sproles can do for an offense. The mismatches among the defense that he creates is jarring. He’s a quarterback’s best friend and an offensive coach’s glorified chess piece. New Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt had Danny Woodhead with him in San Diego last season and used him to his full potential. Woodhead is essentially in the same mold as Sproles, though both aren’t very adept at running the football. But that’s what Greene is for. Greene and Sproles could form a great combination that could transform the offense.
If you’re looking for a more complete running back, then Thomas would be your pick out of the two. The definition of the word “underrated” he’s been second- and third-fiddle for most of his time in New Orleans due to Sean Payton’s unwillingness to commit to running backs. A great receiver, though maybe not as dynamic and experienced as Sproles, he can run the ball like Sproles can’t. If you watch him play, you’ll see defensive players bouncing off of him like a pinball machine. He gives all of his effort on every snap, which would be a welcome addition in Tennessee.
One way or another, a running back or two will be added during this offseason. The Saints’ situation just goes to show that were will be many options available. It’s up to the coaching staff and front office to determine who they think is the perfect fit.