AFC North trade targets for the Tennessee Titans
By Will Lomas
This one was tougher because you would expect the Cleveland Browns to be a young team and they sort of are. However, they have spent high draft picks on Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham which has depleted them of some potential trade options.
Don’t get me wrong, these were absolutely the right choices by the Browns, but for this article it makes it harder to project.
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So let’s say that instead of going the young route, the Tennessee Titans try to land a big name whose contract might be too big. Instead of using the method they used with Kelly, King and Correa, maybe they look for a guy like DeMarco Murray or Ryan Tannehill.
The problem with this is that with a cap crunch coming in 2020, the Titans would only take on a contact that will save them money on a deal they will probably make in this coming offseason. So, that limits potential trade options to: IOL, RT, EDGE, RB, and possibly tight end.
Through that lens, the best trade candidate is Duke Johnson, RB.
Johnson wants to be traded because the team signed Kareem Hunt and put Johnson on the back burner, leading to him skipping OTAs.
Johnson has a very manageable contract, with cap hits of $4.85 million in 2019 and $5.9 million in 2020, but the Tennessee Titans could cut bait after this year if Johnson doesn’t work out well and get back all of that money.
Also, there is some flexibility when you remember that the Titans do have plenty of cap room left this season. If they want to re-work his contract into more money this year and then lower his cap hit in 2020 to help with free agency, then they can.
Over the last three years, Duke Johnson is averaging 4.7 yards per attempt on on 195 rushes and 9.4 yards per reception on 174 catches. What that tells you is that he can be what the Titans want/wanted Dion Lewis to be in this offense, a balanced back who is unpredictable and hard to scheme against.
The Browns are motivated to trade him and the Titans are probably looking at a new group of running backs in 2020 unless Derrick Henry can come to a favorable deal with Tennessee. This would give them a versatile back with some punt return experience that could help short and long term.