Daren Bates is a name that diehard Tennessee Titans fans know well because he was a spark plug on special teams that constantly found ways to set the tone for the next drive. Those same diehard fans might want to keep an eye on his Twitter account over the next few days.
Bates followed Dean Pees and Arthur Smith over to Atlanta when Smith was hired as the Falcons’ next head coach. Even though his time in Nashville is over, Bates has a great relationship with a lot of current and former Tennessee Titans players and coaches.
I don’t know if he will be breaking any news, but he definitely has plenty of connections to players around the NFL as well as people in the building in Tennessee. So, when he says something then Titans fans should listen even if it isn’t a guarantee.
Yesterday, Bates send Titans Twitter into a frenzy with a tweet (below), suggesting that they were about to make a move in free agency.
Immediately everyone thought this was about Juju Smith-Schuster, but it turns out that he was actually talking about Za’Darius Smith.
Za’Darius Smith to the Tennessee Titans confirmed?
This one was so out of left field that it almost felt like there had to be some truth to it.
Even though there hasn’t been a move yet, Bates later clarified that he thought the Titans would go after Smith because he was a great fit for the culture that Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel look for in players.
Over the last 24 hours, the Tennessee Titans have cut Jackrabbit Jenkins and brought back Ben Jones and Geoff Swaim. That should mean that they are under the cap, but there is going to be more work done here as free agency continues.
Months ago it was clear that six players were going to have a big impact on the Tennessee Titans cap space in 2022. So far Jenkins, Rodger Saffold, and Kendall Lamm were all cut and Brett Kern had his deal restructured, leaving just Taylor Lewan and Zach Cunningham.
Based on context clues it looks like the Tennessee Titans will restructure those players, and there have been hints that Kevin Byard and Derrick Henry could see restructured deals as well. That would open up something close to $30 million in cap space.
According to Spotrac, Za’Darius Smith’s market value would be $16.7 million AAV so the Titans could make a deal if they wanted to.
However, just because the Titans could sign Za’Darius Smith doesn’t mean that they should. In fact, now that Harold Landry, Bud Dupree, Denico Autry, and Jeffery Simmons are all under contract for the next two years, you could argue that the defensive line doesn’t need another dollar invested into it.
If they did free up that money then tight end, wide receiver, offensive line, and backup running back, should all be much higher priority than adding another great pass rusher.
Would it be fun? Absolutely.
Would he fit their culture? Bates votes yes and no one on here has spent more time with Vrabel and Robinson than he has.
Are the Titans going to make this move? Almost certainly not, and that is the right call.