It might sound counterintuitive for a team like the Tennessee Titans to sign a 34-year-old EDGE, but let me convince you.
With the think tank of Mike Vrabel and Ran Carthon in charge of personnel decisions, there is no chance that this team packs it in and starts to tank at any point this season. Even if the Titans continue their current seven-game losing streak, it is going to be Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill leading the way until the bitter end.
Forget the long-term health of this roster and focus just on this season and how to give this group the best chance to win. What is the best way to do that?
The best option by a wide margin is to sign DeAndre Hopkins, which would completely change the outlook of this team for 2023 and beyond. However, that is easier said than done and right now it seems like it is a coin flip between the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans.
Whether Hopkins is on the roster or not, the calling card of this team is going to be their defense. Specifically, it is going to be their elite pass rush that features four of the best pass rushers in the NFL at their disposal.
There is no doubt that the Tennessee Titans are going to have the ability to put pressure on offenses with their front four, but can they sustain it for 17 games? One way to help them do that is to make sure that they are as deep as possible at that position.
That brings me to future Hall of Fame EDGE, Justin Houston.
Why Justin Houston is the perfect target for the Tennessee Titans
Like Denico Autry, Houston is a pass rusher who seems to live outside of time and space.
He spent the first eight years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, and in 2018 he finished his career there at 29 years old and with 9.8 sacks per season. He was a dominant player with that franchise for the better part of a decade, but he was about to turn 30 years old and the Chiefs didn't want to be stuck with an aging superstar.
So what has he done in the four years since turning 30? He has been almost as dominant as a pass rusher with an average of 8.3 sacks per season including 9.5 sacks in 2022.
If you are concerned about how much it might cost, don't be. Houston has spent the last two years in Baltimore where he made $2 million in 2021 and $3.5 million in 2022. Signing him to a deal that pays him that much money over the next two seasons, would be a great way to reduce his cap hit without doing any real harm down the line.
The Tennessee Titans could continue with the starting front four of Harold Landry, Jeffery Simmons, Teair Tart, and Arden Key. Then they could layer in guys like Justin Houston, Denico Autry, and Rashad Weaver in certain situations to keep their starters fresh while also sustaining the high-octane defense.
If this Tennessee Titans team is serious about winning games this season and pushing for the AFC South title and maybe more, they have to make sure they reinforce their strengths. They are much closer to being an elite defense than an elite offense, and Houston is still a great pass rusher that could help this group stay healthy, energized, and effective over a 17-game season.