The Tennessee Titans should be huge players in free agency this year.
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Many are projecting that the Tennessee Titans will cut ties with Michael Griffin this offseason.Not only that, but there are rumors that based on his injury and his cap hit compared to the rest of the league, that maybe a restructure for Jason McCourty should even be considered.
Assuming that those combined moves open up around $13 million in cap space the Titans would move up to 3rd or 4th in the league in total cap space for 2016. On top of that, they also don’t have any starters set to hit free agency this offseason.
So, with that in mind the Titans should have ample opportunity to bring in some players that fit the Jon Robinson “intimidating” mentality that he is going to build this team around. So, which free agent sticks out to me today?
Damon Harrison NT, New York Jets
Compared to the Titans being in 3rd or 4th in cap space, the Jets are 23rd in the NFL in cap space with around $10 million. That wouldn’t be a big deal if their best player, Mo Wilkerson wasn’t about to hit free agency. No matter what deal they get done with him, unless they make some serious cuts then Harrison should hit free agency for sure.
Many people don’t know who Harrison is, and that is fine. If you know a true NT in the NFL it is usually because they are getting blown off the ball so much that you can see the name on the back of their jersey or because they are free lancing and not doing what they are supposed too.
However, if I told you to give me PFF’s top 6 interior defenders could you name them? Sure you would get guys like J.J. Watt, Aaron Donald,Geno Atkins, and Ndamukong Suh. The two guys you wouldn’t get are the young studs Linval Joseph and Damon Harrison, who are also the only 1-technique/NTs on this list.
For a team so bad against the run last year, it would probably help to have the league’s best interior run stuffer (according to PFF) on the team. That’s right, for all the negative plays that other players get, it is Harrison that offensive linemen truly can’t block.
With Sammie Hill coming off of the books, the Titans will need to at least consider replacing him with a starting caliber player and Harrison would be perfect. The best thing is, they could pay him premium money for the position and it wouldn’t even be a real drop in the bucket for the Titans.
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The average cost per year of the highest paid NTs in the league is $4.5 million. If the Titans could sign Snacks (Harrison’s nickname) to a four year, $22 million deal they would get him in the prime of his career (27-31) and instantly improve their run defense.
Dick LeBeau gets his Casey Hampton 2.0, and Snacks gets a great contract to play next to Jurrell Casey, DaQuan Jones, Brian Orakpo, and Derrick Morgan on a Dick LeBeau defense. That is a great deal and both teams would benefit greatly.