It’s probably a good bet that the Tennessee Titans will not be making a Super Bowl run in 2016, so there aren’t many reasons for general manager Jon Robinson to break the bank when the top tier of free agents hit the market on March 9th.
The Titans will hit the market with more than $45 Million in cap space this year, and will have the room to add some nice players to this roster, but they need to avoid making bad deals with players who are looking for a big payday.
Robinson has inherited a team that has little talent, but has no bad contracts that he has to deal with. Ken Whisenhunt and former GM Ruston Webster showed discretion in 2015, and Robinson needs to do his free agency shopping the same way.
The Titans need to pick up some veteran leadership in key units, and those type of players can be had in the second wave. Much like last year when they added Brian Orakpo, Harry Douglass and Perrish Cox.
Unfortunately, some of the nice leadership pieces that will be available, like Matt Forte from the Chicago Bears and Eric Weddle from the San Diego Chargers won’t be looking for a big payday, but they will be looking to get a ring before they retire.
Something they won’t likely get in Music City during the 2016 season,
I feel good about Jon Robinson, and in particular, his time with the New England Patriots. If he bought into the Bill Belichick theory of not over-paying free agents, and using his player evaluation skills instead of cash to build a team, the Titans should be able to land some nice pieces that won’t choke the team down the road.
Using the Miami Dolphins as a benchmark for thing not to do after they overpaid for Ndamukong Suh last offseason, fired the head coach and are now in cap trouble.
Now they are looking at needing to part ways with good players and are nowhere closer to a playoff than they were a year ago.
Now is the time to get core players in place on this team. Marcus Mariota will be on his rookie deal until 2019 and after what we saw last year, he will want to get paid when this deal is over.
We have seen what has happened to teams who have to pay their rookie quarterbacks Russell Wilson in Seattle and Andrew Luck right here in the AFC South, and if the Titans aren’t close to a Super Bowl run by the time Mariota’s contract is due, they will miss the boat.
Mike Mularkey and Jon Robinson will need to do their “due diligence” next week at the NFL Combine, but they need to do some shopping in Free Agency as well.
The second tier is a nice place to shop, and I think they can get some good core players at reasonable prices there.
With Amy Adams Strunk now fully in charge of this team, I expect to see some new faces in Nashville when the 2016 season starts.