Tennessee Titans: Five Potential Cap Casualties to Target

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 10: Inside linebacker Clay Matthews
LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 10: Inside linebacker Clay Matthews /
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Derrick Johnson, LB, Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs’ all-time leading tackler, Derrick Johnson is set to earn $8 million this season at 35 years old. With the team acquiring Reggie Ragland through trade last season, the writing may have already been on the wall for the 13-year veteran.

While there are other variables in terms of a player’s value, there aren’t too many that are held in a higher regard than the ability to be lead, be consistent, and be durable. Those all seem to be Johnson’s strengths. Through his lengthy career at one of the more physical positions on the field, the Texas product has only played less than 13 games once in his career while being the main staple of that Chiefs defense.

The Titans’ weakness at the linebacker position has been their ability to cover tight ends and running backs over the middle of the field. Way too many times, players at those positions have flat out dominated the passing game. Good teams will expose that, just like Tom Brady and the Patriots did in the Divisional Round against the Titans. That weakness may very well be the reason the team doesn’t bring back upcoming free agent Avery Williamson, who is a force in the run game but is also a severe liability in coverage.

You may think of Johnson as more of a ‘thumper’ at linebacker after his vicious sack on Mariota in the Wild Card game, but Johnson has been one of the better cover players at the position for the greater part of a decade. Adding a player like that next to Wesley Woodyard will suddenly turn one of the biggest question marks on the team to one of the strongest units. Jayon Brown will also be a beneficiary of learning from two great players while not being rushed into the every-down role he’s just not ready for yet.