Caleb Farley’s development is key to the Tennessee Titans offseason
By Will Lomas
The Tennessee Titans roster was decimated by injuries this season, and the rookie class was no exception.
Rookies like Elijah Molden, Dillon Radunz, and NaQuan Jones, managed to dodge the injury bug and have good seasons when they were on the field. On the other hand, Caleb Farley, Monty Rice, and Rashad Weaver weren’t as lucky.
When people talk about the injured rookies, they gravitate towards Monty Rice and Rashad Weaver and it is easy to see why. Monty Rice was really starting to come on and you could argue that he was the second-best linebacker on the team before they signed Zach Cunningham.
Rashad Weaver spent the preseason decimating tight ends and tackles, and before you start talking about the preseason no mattering, remember that the preseason is the reason why David Long got more playing time this season.
The player that doesn’t get mentioned a lot is Caleb Farley, but he is very important to the future of the Tennessee Titans. DeAngelo Hall was talking to Jim Wyatt at the Super Bowl and he had this to say about what Caleb Farley could be in the future:
Forget future superstar for now, if Caleb Farley can come in and develop into a solid cornerback it is going to be huge for the Tennessee Titans offseason plans.
Caleb Farley’s domino effect on the Tennessee Titans offseason
Rookie cornerbacks struggle often and Farley was so raw that the plan was always to bring him along slowly. Unfortunately, after his back healed up, he suffered an ACL injury and was knocked out of the season with almost no playing time to his name.
If this sounds familiar, it is because it isn’t too different from what happened to Kristian Fulton as a rookie. Sure, his injury was less severe, but Fulton’s rookie season was supposed to be about him developing behind Adoree Jackson and Malcolm Butler to be the eventual starter down the road.
Jackson suffered his mystery injury which threw Fulton into the fire early and he struggled to catch on after dealing with injuries.
The 2020 defense was a mess under Mike Vrabel and Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson was tasked with completely rebuilding that side of the ball in an effort to keep up with their elite offense (this is before Todd Downing showed the world just how bad you can be as a play-caller).
Robinson had to gamble on his evaluation skills and the coaching staff’s ability to develop Fulton, and he ended up cutting both Adoree Jackson and Malcolm Butler. That move opened up $20 million for the Titans.
Eventually, the Tennessee Titans would use that money (and then some) to add Bud Dupree and Denico Autry which paid incredible dividends for the defense.
Long story short, Jon Robinson chose to roll with Fulton, Dupree, and Autry instead of the safer option of keeping Jackson and Butler, then forcing Fulton into the slot.
This offseason, the Titans will probably move on from Rodger Saffold either through a trade or a cut. If they also cut Kendall Lamm and Brett Kern, it would save them $17 million next season. That number would shoot up to $24 million if Jon Robinson rolls the dice on Caleb Farley and cuts Jackrabbit Jenkins.
Signing a very good tight end would do wonders for the Tennessee Titans this offseason, and a name that keeps getting thrown around is David Njoku. According to Spotrac, a fair deal for him this offseason would be $6.7 million AAV for four years.
If the Titans can count on Caleb Farley, Elijah Molden, and Kristian Fulton to be the cornerbacks next year, with Chris Jackson coming off of the bench, that would allow them the flexibility to basically swap Njoku and Jenkins and end up with more cash.
That means no first-round tight end and instead, Robinson can use that pick on a player that plays a premium position. Remember, they could always go after another tight end on Day 3 to fill out the depth chart, but this would just mean that