After walking off under his own power in practice yesterday, Johnathan Cyprien suffered a season-ending Torn ACL injury.
In yesterday’s practice for the Tennessee Titans, a couple of defensive backs got injured. Kendrick Lewis fell awkwardly and had to go inside with a trainer. Johnathan Cyprien fell to the ground when his knee buckled while rushing the quarterback, but ended up walking off under his own power.
By all accounts, the Cyprien’s injury looked bad. It was apparently bad enough that Cyprien is likely to miss the entire 2018 season. While speaking to the media after practice on Thursday, head coach Mike Vrabel confirmed that Cyprien tore his ACL.
Coming off of a disappointing first year in Nashville in which Cyprien suffered a hamstring injury early in the season and never recaptured his top form, Cyprien was expected to play a big role in Vrabel and Dean Pees’ defense this season. A run-stopping in-the-box safety, Cyprien’s position is very important for an aggressive defense like the on that the Titans want to play.
The Titans have a few in-house replacements that could theoretically slot in for Cyprien, but some of them could force All-Pro safety Kevin Byard into less of a center field role. Rookie Dane Cruikshank is uber-athletic and is rangy with an eye for the ball in the air, but he’s a true free safety and would likely struggle in Cyprien’s position of strong safety. Brynden Trawick has made his mark as a special teams ace and isn’t really starting material for a high-level defense. Lewis, who was injured in practice, is likely the most logical replacement, as he’s spent time at both safety positions and has plenty of experience.
If the Titans elect to dip into the free agency pool for a replacement, they will find a bevy of talented players with some hangups.
Former Saint Kenny Vaccaro is coming off of a rough year in New Orleans, where he struggled for consistency and was floated around as a trade option. Despite that, he is the most talented option available and could shine with the crop of defensive backs the Titans already have. Vaccaro is reportedly set for a visit to Nashville on Friday.
Former Niner Eric Reid is a Pro Bowler and an ideal strong safety in the modern NFL. The only reason he remains unsigned is because of his outspokenness and willingness to protest police brutality during the national anthem. Titans GM Jon Robinson has been wary of avoiding potential PR problems, so Reid seems unlikely to be brought in, though Vrabel said today that Reid could be brought in for a visit.
Former Cardinal Tyvon Branch is the oldest of the bunch at 31 years old suffered a season-ending injury last year, but he was one of the best safeties in football during his nine games plated in 2017. He would likely be the cheapest of the best options due to his age and injury history.