I know Tennessee Titans fans around the country were discouraged by the disaster that was the 2014 National Football League season, but the Calvary is on the way. General Manager, Ruston Webster inherited a mess three years ago, and as he enters his fourth year in 2015, can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the fruit of his labors. Cap space for Free Agency.
On the heels of a 2-14 season and finishing last in one of the weakest divisions in the NFL, you probably think I’ve lost my marbles, but it takes time to dig a team out of a series of really dumb decisions. The dumb decision in this case has a name, and his name was Vince Young.
The 2-14 season was necessary to get in position for a good draft pick scenario in 2015, and for the first time in a nearly a decade, the Tennessee Titans will have salary cap room where they can fully take part in free agency.
A quick look at the Titan’s free agency list shows us that Ruston, along with head coach, Ken Whisenhunt have taken out the scalpel, and trimmed even more fat out of the roster.
With one of the worse offensive lines in the NFL, it was time to part ways with some older players who were not producing, and gobbling up the lion’s share of the cap.
The starting tackles alone, Michael Roos, and Michael Oehr were responsible for almost $10 Million Dollars. They are thirty-two and twenty-eight years old respectfully, and when you see the Quarterbacks continually running for their lives, you had to know, it was time for some changes.
Back-up Quarterback, Jake Locker played pretty well before he too was injured, but at just over $4 Million dollars a year, I don’t think he played that well, and was destined to leave as well.
To go along with the fat being trimmed, the Titans go into the 2015 season, fifth among all teams with the most money saved from the 2014 salary cap. They bring $11,254,828 from last season into 2015.
The Salary Cap for 2014 was $133 Million, and although it is not known yet, is expected to be in the $140 Million Range. If the cap comes in at $140 Million Dollars, the Titans will hit the 2015 free agency market with around $40 Million bucks in cap space.
If the Titans can take advantage of their draft position, and do their homework to build a solid crop of rookies, they will have some money to plug some of the glaring holes on both sides of the ball when free agency opens up.
I’m not delirious enough yet, to think the Tennessee Titans are Super Bowl bound in 2015, but then again, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Based on Ken Whisenhunt’s record in Arizona, I think finishing the season around the 8-8 mark, would represent a successful 2015 season.
Whisenhunt inherited a 5-11 team in Arizona back in 2007, and ended a losing tradition that included 20 of 22 seasons where sub .500 seasons were the normal. He was able to bring a different attitude to the team that exists there today.
By 2008, the Arizona Cardinals were NFC Division Champs, and went to their first Super Bowl in history. Whisenhunt brought the winning attitude, and an aging Kurt Warner did the rest of the heavy lifting.
"“That’s one of the biggest things when meeting with the players that they were most excited about,” Whisenhunt said. “We’re going to have systems in place that they’re familiar with. They have a chance to get better and believe in what we’re doing.”"
It was said by someone smarter than myself, that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. I think that a dismal 2-14 season in the 2014 season was that first painful step.
I remember the days at the end of Tom Landry’s run in Dallas, when the Cowboys took that first step, and it included a 1-15 season that put them in position to draft Troy Aikman. Of course, Jerry Jones bought the team the following year, and took advantage of that position, and the rest they say, is history.