ESPN plays free agent matchmaker, messes up Tennessee Titans pick

Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: Democrat and Chronicle)
Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: Democrat and Chronicle) /

The Tennessee Titans could use another receiver, but despite a few free-agent options that would fit nicely, ESPN’s Matt Bowen selected the wrong player in his recent article.

Let me say this, no one should be asked to know everything about all 32 teams, you just can’t do it. So the fact that Bowen knew that the Titans should be in the market for a receiver at all gives him more credit than everyone who insisted that Tennessee was going to spend a first-round pick on a linebacker in the 2022 NFL Draft.

In his article, Bowen says that the 10 best free agents left on the market are: Ndamukong Suh, Odell Beckham Jr., Kevin King, Landon Collins, Julio Jones, Cole Beasley, Anthony Barr, Trey Flowers, Eric Fisher, and Will Fuller V.

You could argue that nearly half of these free agents make sense for the Tennessee Titans, but there are clearly some options that wouldn’t make sense.

King for example would probably be the Titans’ fifth-best cornerback and Landon Collins would have to be a depth piece behind one of the best safety duos in the NFL.

Julio Jones made a lot of sense last year, but after seeing what he has left in the tank and how fragile he is, the Titans obviously wouldn’t go near him.

Bowen says that the Tennessee Titans would be the ideal team for Cole Beasley

Beasley would have been filled a huge need for the Tennessee Titans in 2021, and Bowen outlines why in the last half of his analysis:

"The Titans drafted Treylon Burks to replace A.J. Brown in their offense, and veteran Robert Woods is a good fit here given the in-breaking cuts we see in the team’s pass game. But Beasley would add a different element in 11 personnel sets, where the Titans need a boost in the dropback pass game on third down. He can shake coverage on crossers and option routes to give quarterback Ryan Tannehill a dependable second-level target when throwing from the pocket. Tennessee definitely needs some help here after ranking 27th in expected points added on third-down dropbacks last season."

However, the Titans don’t really need a middle-of-the-field option anymore after this offseason. For starters, Austin Hooper is going to get the lion’s share of the targets replicating what Jonnu Smith was doing in 2020 before he got hurt.

Another person that will eat into those opportunities is rookie Kyle Philips who has quickly impressed everyone and who (so far) looks like the next Adam Humphries, Hunter Renfrow, and Cole Beasley-type.

A wild card that you also have to consider is that Chig Okonkwo will likely earn some time this year as a pass-catching tight end thanks to his top-end athleticism. The Titans will try to get him on the field in two tight end sets and force teams to cover him with a linebacker, which means that there won’t be room on the field for Beasley in these situations.

The short version is that the middle of the field isn’t where the Titans need help after their additions this offseason. Boundary players like Will Fuller and Odell Beckham Jr. make sense, and we have been banging the table for Will Fuller as the most sensible option for months now.

Fuller ended up going to Cleveland in Bowen’s matchmaking exercise, but Cleveland spent two draft picks on receivers and they already had Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz, Jakeem Grant, and David Njoku who is going to get a healthy number of targets.

I would assume that the Titans would be more motivated than the Browns to get Fuller, but if not then they should call the Browns for whichever receiver is their new WR5.