Tennessee Titans: Free Agency Wish List
Jerick Mckinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings
All signs are pointing towards the Tennessee Titans parting ways with veteran running back DeMarco Murray at some point this off-season. With Derrick Henry ready to shoulder the load, the team should be looking to add a change of pace back to the stable. Having another talented back to spell Henry while bringing a new dynamic would elevate the play of the entire offense.
Marcus Mariota has been deprived of a pass-catching back his entire time in Nashville thus far, and that is something that is likely high on Jon Robinson’s priority list this off-season. Jerick McKinnon is a player who could fill that void and do so at a high level.
What stands out about Mckinnon’s game is that he doesn’t play true to his size. Typically, what comes to mind when you think of a back who measures 5’9″ is a lightning quick scat back who usually catches a lot of balls and runs primarily outside the tackles. While McKinnon has that ability, he has also shown a serious degree of physicality between the tackles and a sheer willingness to not go down if a first down or touchdown is within reach. The capability to wear all hats at the running back position is something that fits what Robinson and Mike Vrabel are looking for.
The Titans haven’t had a back who can win in tight one-on-one coverage quick enough for the quarterback to beat the blitz like this since the days of Chris Johnson. Henry isn’t a liability in the pass game as much as national ‘analysts’ make it seem, but the quick twitch athleticism of McKinnon is what separates him from bigger backs in the passing game. And he would give Mariota the safety valve he hasn’t had since his Heisman winning days at Oregon.
McKinnon is coming off a year where he was less than a $700,000 cap number for the Minnesota Vikings. With him being a ripe 25 years old and providing solid production despite a carousel of quarterbacks, I thought it was fitting to give him about $5.5 million annually. While that may be a big jump in price from last year to this year, the team would save $6.5 million this year just by releasing Murray. That seems like an optimal situation to me.
Potential Contract: 4 Years, $22 Million