The veteran wideout would bring consistent production and leadership to the Titans wide receiver position.
The Tennessee Titans have a number of needs they need to address this offseason, but one of their priorities should be improving their wide receiver corps. Many fans are already looking towards the draft, with ongoing discussions over whether Mike Williams or Corey Davis is the better option. While they are both talented players, I believe WR possibilities via free agency are being overlooked. There aren’t many great free agents at WR this offseason, but Pierre Garcon is one player the Titans should definitely target.
Titans fans are surely familiar with Garcon from his days playing for their AFC South rival, the Indianapolis Colts. But some may be surprised at the level of production he has maintained since leaving to sign with the Washington Redskins in 2012. Since 2009, he’s only had one season where he totaled less than 700 receiving yards. That was in 2012, and was also the only season where he played less than 14 games (10). That is a quite an impressive 8 year span in terms of durability and production.
And while Garcon may be turning 31 this year, he certainly hasn’t lost a step. He is coming off of a season where he had his highest receiving average since 2012 (13.2 YPR) and broke the 1,000 yard mark for the 2nd time in his career. He also was a first down machine, with 52 of his 79 catches moving the chains. By Pro Football Focus’s standards he is the best UFA WR in 2017 (at 85.8), a full 7 points better than the next available option (Alshon Jeffery, 78.7). Garcon is someone who knows how to get open, and would be a great asset to QB Marcus Mariota.
Great Fit for the Titans
GM Jon Robinson and Head Coach Mike Mularkey have made it clear what type of player they want on their team: hard-working, consistent, and possessing a team first attitude. And all those boxes will be checked off with Garcon. He is often praised for his leadership and hard work, and is willing to do anything that is asked of him. And in addition to being a productive receiver, Garcon is also an excellent blocker. With the Titans offense being predicated on their rushing attack, having WRs who can block is a huge asset. Garcon would not only improve the passing attack, but can help the running game and bring additional veteran leadership to the locker room.
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While Tennessee fans should be thankful to the LA Rams for their trade with the Titans last season, they should be incensed with the extension they gave Tavon Austin this season. His 4 year, $42M deal will most likely drive up the cost for (actually productive) WRs this offseason. Fortunately, with the amount of cap room the Titans have, they can afford an expensive, short-term deal. Pierre Garcon is turning 31, so this season represents perhaps his last chance at a big contract. The Titans will be able to pay him the $9-$10M/year he will (probably) want, and frontload it on a 3 year deal. That will ensure that Garcon won’t be stuck on the books when it’s time to extend players like Mariota and Taylor Lewan. The Titans have money to spend, so why not use it on Garcon?
While the Titans calling card in 2016 was their rushing attack, their passing game was still one of the most efficient in the NFL last season. While a group of receivers consisting of Delanie Walker, Rishard Matthews, Garcon, and Tajae Sharpe may not strike fear into the hearts of opponents, I would feel very comfortable going into the 2017 season with that crew. And signing Garcon doesn’t necessarily mean the Titans will avoid a WR in the 1st round of the draft. But it does give them flexibility, and will allow them to draft the best player available at 5 and 18. Garcon’s consistent production, leadership, and team fit all should ensure that he is a top target for the Titans in free agency.