The Carolina Panthers fired HC Matt Rhule and suddenly they have shifted from win-now mode to rebuild mode. That means that Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson should be on the phone this morning trying to make a deal.
It has been too long since I have stepped into the GM armchair and made some hypothetical trades, but it is just like riding a bike. All it took was one tweet from Jay Glazer and the wheels started spinning.
Panthers GM Scott Fitterer was hired after Matt Rhule, and since he isn’t already out of a job I have to imagine that he is going to be a huge part of this rebuild.
It also means that he isn’t necessarily attached to everyone on the roster because he didn’t have a hand in signing them in the first place.
The Tennessee Titans are the perfect team to take advantage of this fire sale for a few reasons.
First, they have a roster decimated by injuries and they could use some help now. Sitting at the top of the AFC South after a three-game win streak, it would be smart to stack some talent in order to stay in the driver’s seat.
Secondly, they are about to start a bye week which means they can devote their full attention to this.
Finally, they are going to have some wiggle room in cap space down the line and this is a great way to weaponize that.
Who should be on the Tennessee Titans’ shopping list?
It is hard to find great talent on the Panthers’ roster, but you can find great fits for the Titans if you look hard enough.
Everyone’s mind goes straight to Carolina’s receivers, but that is going to be a tough ask.
Even if you could convince them to get rid of their best receiver in D.J. Moore, they would be hard-pressed to make a deal work because of the dead money that they would incur. Unfortunately, I don’t know the cap math well enough to know the exact number (I think it is $49 million?).
Robbie Anderson sounds great, but he is scheduled to make $22 million next season and the Titans can’t make that work with the free agents that they have coming up.
The players they should be looking at are former first-round picks Derrick Brown and Brian Burns.
Brown is 24 years old and he still has two years left on his contract. While he is a good defensive tackle, he doesn’t give you the splash plays that turn guys into Pro Bowlers. Still, he is a really nice player and a team should be willing to give up a real pick for him.
Since the Panthers aren’t going to be in a place to pay a defensive tackle real money when his contract is up, it makes sense to get ahead of this and add a draft pick that can be used immediately instead of waiting for a possible comp. pick.
The Titans love to rotate their defensive linemen and having a big body like Brown in the middle means they could put him next to Simmons and cause matchup nightmares, or they could move Simmons outside a little bit to match up against offensive tackles who can’t always get a double team and who aren’t prepared for his power.
The gem of this team is Brian Burns, and he is the player that the Tennessee Titans should absolutely be making a push for. I will write another article about why he could be a key piece of the Tennessee Titans’ plans for an instant rebuild this offseason, but let’s just focus on what he does for the team in 2022.
Burns has had back-to-back 9-sack seasons and he is currently on pace for 13.5 sacks in 2022. He would be the perfect replacement for Harold Landry and in the future, he could give the team another speed rusher screaming off of the edge opposite Landry.
The Titans would have to have a long-term plan in mind since he is four years into his rookie contract, but they can make that work for a Pro Bowl EDGE like Burns.