GMs hint at where Tennessee Titans should shop in free agency
By Will Lomas
The depth of the 2017 NFL Draft should have huge ramifications on the Tennessee Titans free agent spending.
27 days. That is how long the Tennessee Titans have to wait until the legal tampering phase of free agency begins.
Before I make shopping lists and plans (whoops, I already some of that for cornerback and linebacker) one thing that I know for a fact Jon Robinson and the front office is looking at is the depth of the 2017 NFL Draft class.
Robinson rose through the ranks in New England, a team that loves draft picks and finding value in the draft. He showed that last year on draft day, but what we didn’t know was that he was also using free agency to leverage himself into that position.
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Now that we have seen how good Jack Conklin, Rishard Matthews, Kevin Byard, Ben Jones, Demarco Murray, and the rest of that offseason’s additions were you can see his offseason mesh together perfectly.
So instead of signing Mitchell Schwartz in free agency for a huge chunk of money, the Tennessee Titans got Jack Conklin and will have him for the prime of his career if they want to keep him (they should). They could do this because they knew the depth of the class.
Daniel Jeremiah, a man of many connections, posted an “Ask 5” post where he asked the deepest positions in the draft.
Go read the post and support his work to read the details, but the answers he got were:
3 votes for cornerback
1 vote for safeties
1 votes for tight end
If you saw my Ultimate GM post, you know that I currently rank the Tennessee Titans needs as: CB, LB, WR, EDGE, S, NT, TE in that order.
So if we are using the depth of the draft as a deterrent for free agency moves you could say that 3 of the Tennessee Titans big 7 needs can be delayed until the draft if there isn’t anyone they absolutely love.
Alright, so a new top-4 needs list would look like this:
Not a lot of great options here yet, but if you really wanted to squint and hope you could hope that Dont’a Hightower could hit free agency. He is a fairly young linebacker (27 in March) and he is a 2-time Super Bowl champion who is from Jon Robinson’s former team.
To top it all off, he is from Lewisberg, TN which is less than an hour away from Nashville. Jon Robinson loves local guys and is a local guy, so that is interesting.
2. Wide Receiver
This is a pretty decent year for free agent wide receivers. If you want a WR1 you could convince yourself that Alshon Jeffery or Terrelle Pryor could be that guy.
If you want a great WR2 with a ton of potential or production, then guys like Pierre Garcon, Ted Ginn and even Cordarrelle Patterson all have something to really like.
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Guys like Melvin Ingram, Jason Pierre-Paul, Nick Perry, and Lorenzo are all going to cost a lot of money and the Tennessee Titans are not going to pay up for a 3rd rusher.
What they could do is go after someone like Jabaal Shared, James Harrison, John Simon, Demarcus Ware, or a bunch of other guys could all fit what the Tennessee Titans really need for about $8-7 million per year.
4. Nose Tackle
There are big names listed at DL set to hit free agency, but for this system with this coaching staff Dontari Poe and Brandon Williams are the two guys I could see them throwing money at this season.
Dick LeBeau and Robinson have both seen outstanding defenses built right up the middle: Nose tackle, MLB and safety that is the backbone of great 3-4 defenses. Of course, you have to be able to get a pass rush too, that is why EDGE is ranked higher.
Still, adding a blue chip guy in the middle of the DL is what the Tennessee Titans tried to do last year with Damon Harrison but they were outbid by the New York Giants. Look for them to try again this year.