The Tennessee Titans finally did it, they reached out to CFL mega-star and future NFL All-Pro tight end, Nikola Kalinic.
Obviously, that is a joke, but when I saw this article from Mike Moraitis I was intrigued. If there is one position that could use a slight boost heading into the playoffs, it is tight end and specifically a blocking tight end.
According to Mike’s story, Kalinic is a good blocker that has lined up at a variety of positions and he is a valuable special teams player.
Surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly if you think about it) there is a large contingent of NHL fans that are also CFL fans. Someone I follow actually follows Nashville Predators and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats very closely, so I reached out to him to get his take on what Nikola Kalinic is as a player.
He described Kalinic as a physical blocker that fans love, but the style of football that the CFL uses doesn’t really have a spot for blocking tight ends.
This is one of the rare instances where a player could successfully convert from the CFL to the NFL and carve out a real role for themselves.
No signing has been made, but it is something to keep an eye on over the next few days.
What would Nikola Kalinic realistically give the Tennessee Titans?
The move that would help the Tennessee Titans running game the most would be to activate Tory Carter off of I.R. and for the offense to bring back one of the best fullbacks in the NFL. However, the Titans really don’t have a replacement for MyCole Pruitt and Kalinic would slot in to a very clear role that is a necessary part of this offense.
Aaron Brewer, Geoff Swaim, and Ryan Izzo are all trying to establish themselves as viable options to replace Pruitt for the stretch run, but each one has drawbacks.
As a lineman, Brewer obviously isn’t a real receiving threat, Swaim is what he is, and Ryan Izzo is more of a stop-gap player until something else comes along.
Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson and the talented front office have done an excellent job finding band-aids for banged-up positions all year long. Guys like Greg Mabin, Buster Skrine, Dylan Cole, Randy Bullock, and Dontrell Hilliard all come to mind.
At the same time, he has done a great job adding players that can help this year and who are also great options to keep around long-term as developmental players or future starters. Guys like Zach Cunningham, NaQuan Jones, Tory Carter, Kyle Peko, Corey Levin, and D’Onta Foreman, all could definitely be starters or key backups next year.
Kalinic is the type of guy that a smart GM signs to the practice squad in hopes that he has found a diamond in the rough that is uniquely motivated and provides fresh legs immediately. If not, he is a guy you stash for next year and he either develops in 2022 or he is a good camp body.