Bleacher Report has suggested a potential trade between the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans for the 2020 offseason.
One of the biggest priorities for the Tennessee Titans during the 2020 offseason will be adding another pass-rusher to line up opposite Harold Landry after the team struggled to generate a consistent pass-rush in 2019.
That problem was never more apparent than in the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs when quarterback Patrick Mahomes carved up the Titans’ defense as a result of its inability to make him uncomfortable in the pocket.
Tennessee has a few avenues to add a pass-rusher. General manager Jon Robinson could draft one, sign one, and/or even trade for one during the offseason.
In an article listing the “ideal offseason trade scenario” for every team, Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski suggests that the Titans should pull off a trade with the Cleveland Browns for veteran pass-rusher, Olivier Vernon.
"Potential trade: The Titans acquire Vernon from the Browns for tight end Anthony Firkser and a fifth-round draft pick."
There are multiple reasons why this kind of trade is anything but ideal for the Titans.
First off, tight end Anthony Firkser is an exclusive rights free agent, so the Titans would have to re-sign him before a deal can happen.
On top of that, Vernon is due a whopping $15.6 million in 2020, which is far more than he is worth for what he has produced in recent seasons. Between Firkser, the fifth-round pick and the Titans absorbing Vernon’s salary, Tennessee would be giving up far too much here.
Sobleski says the Titans could cut pass-rusher Cameron Wake ($5.6 million savings in 2020) to make up for some of that cost.
It’s true that Wake dealt with injury issues last season and could be cut, as Sobleski noted in his write-up. However, Wake played in one less game and on far less snaps than Vernon did, and the Browns pass-rusher still only totaled one more sack.
Vernon’s ability to stay healthy (15 games missed the past three seasons) is just as in question as Wake’s, and there is an eight-year age difference between the two (Wake is 38, Vernon will be 30 in October).
It would make more sense to just keep Wake at his cheaper $8.2 million 2020 salary than to trade for Vernon and his bloated salary, or cut Wake and spend the saved money on the free agent market instead.
This deal would be a heist for the Browns, who would shed Vernon’s salary, get a solid backup tight end AND draft capital. Tennessee should avoid this kind of disastrous trade at all costs.