The Tennessee Titans may look to add another CB this offseason.
The Tennessee Titans could make some roster upgrades via free agency. The Titans added CB Logan Ryan and SS Jonathan Cyprien to the secondary last season. Could they be looking to spend some cash on defensive back?
An important addition to head coach Mike Vrabel’s coaching staff is former Ohio State coaching assistant and defensive back specialist, Kerry Coombs.
Coombs will be instrumental in helping young Titans defensive backs like Adoree’ Jackson and LeShaun Sims take their game to the next level. Coombs’ primarily responsibility will be grooming the secondary.
It is uncertain if the Titans will add another cornerback via the draft or free agency. Brice McCain surely won’t return, but who else could be on the bubble? Did Tye Smith do enough this season to make the team in 2018? Is the development of Kalan Reed going as expected? Does Sims’ injury put his roster spot in jeopardy?
There are many questions with the current depth at the position. If the Titans are looking to spend on a cornerback this offseason, there could be a few good options available.
The Los Angeles Rams’ tremendous season involved the success and consistency of the offense and defense. Defensive mastermind Wade Phillips had the Rams defense playing great football. L.A. was one of the best teams in multiple defensive categories. One key piece on the defensive side of the ball was CB Trumaine Johnson.
Johnson, a small school product, is a bonafide shutdown NFL corner. He is consistently trusted to cover a team’s primary receiving threat. He has ideal size to match up physically and the speed to go stride for stride with some of the league’s best.
Despite what he’s been able to produce on the football field, the Rams have yet to work out a long-term deal. Johnson has been franchise tagged twice, and although some believed he would receive a long-term contract prior to the 2017 season, it didn’t pan out.
In Johnson’s first four seasons with the Rams, he tallied 15 picks, with seven coming in a single season. He’s a proven player and should be coveted for his production. Could the Titans be the team to value Johnson and pay the man his worth?
Of the cornerbacks expected to test the market, Johnson is arguably the best one out there.
The Titans added a former Patriots defensive back last season. Would Tennessee consider plucking another New England corner this offseason?
CB Malcolm Butler is known for his goal line Super Bowl heroics against Seattle that resulted in jewelry. After going undrafted, Butler developed behind the scenes and has since become one of the best players on New England’s secondary.
He’s played 59 regular season games and has racked up eight regular season interceptions in the last three years. He has shown the ability to be an effective pass defender, even when challenged with a team’s top option.
The Patriots organization ties to Tennessee continue to blossom. Both Vrabel and GM Jon Robinson know exactly how Butler has been coached. He knows “the Patriot way” and fits the championship mentality the Titans are aiming to build. He’s also played with Ryan, so there is chemistry and familiarity there.
Butler won’t likely cost as much as Johnson, but the difference won’t be as vast as many might assume. The Titans could indeed find themselves acquiring another Patriots player if they are willing to spend.
Another viable option is Washington’s Bashaud Breeland. It won’t be easy for the Redskins to keep Breeland, but they just recently shipped arguably the best slot corner, Kendall Fuller, to Kansas City.
The Redskins could elect to keep Breeland on the payroll, hoping he and Josh Norman could continue to evolve into a top CB tandem. Washington does have CB Fabian Moreau, but may want a more experienced corner paired with Norman. The Redskins surely would not let go of two corners, right?
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However, if Washington doesn’t want to invest that much cash into the secondary, Breeland will have a market.
Unlike Johnson and Butler, Breeland is not a small school product. He is a Clemson alum who offers solid play at the corner position. His price tag is ambiguous at the moment, but if it is reasonable, he would be a nice addition to the defensive back corps.
Breeland recorded eight picks during his stint in Washington. His lone pick-six was a 96-yard return and was accomplished this past season. Breeland plays with confidence, is assured in his abilities and plays with urgent aggression. He is solid in run support and can hold his own with receivers from a physical standpoint.
What’s the plan?
The new Titans brass will definitely be having plenty of roundtable discussions outlining roster changes, adjustments and potential upgrades. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees will work with the rest of the defensive staff to decide if the team should roll with the talent they have or add some pieces to make the defense even better.
Coombs will play a big role, as his ability to get the best out of the corners he has worked with will make his opinions even more valuable. He could suggest drafting a defensive back, possibly one he’s coached.
Coombs could also have his eye on a player in the college ranks that he wished he had the opportunity to coach at Ohio State. Are there free agent corners in the league Coombs has kept tabs on? If Eli Apple is on the outs in New York, could the Titans make a play to acquire the former first rounder and reunite him with Coombs?
There are many possibilities as to how the new staff will address the current roster. The excitement is only growing.