Titans, Predators offseason spending brings Nashville from small to medium market team

The Tennessee Titans and other Nashville affiliate sports teams have meant business this offseason
Los Angeles Chargers v Tennessee Titans
Los Angeles Chargers v Tennessee Titans / Johnnie Izquierdo/GettyImages

No matter how good or bad the Tennessee Titans have been over the last 20 years, the offseason have often been frustrating for the fan base.

While the Titans ownership has been unfairly labeled as "cheap" in the past, it is fair to say that this has never been a franchise that has been able to successfully land prime targets in free agency with consistency until recently.

Instead, they have been the butt of the joke too many times in the offseason because they have signed big names who had one foot out of the door and wanted one last check before they retired (Julio Jones and Vic Beasley come to mind).

There could be a whole wing of the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, dedicated to Hall of Fame players who spent some meaningless time with the Titans at the end of their careers. Randy Moss, Dave Casper, Andre Johnson, Jones, and Steve Hutchinson would highlight that lineup.

When you haven't won a Super Bowl and you can't make routine splashes in free agency, it is hard to earn much positive attention during the offseason. A lack of offseason buzz often leaves dedicaed fans as the lone audience excited to watch the Titans play, and that means that you're often forgotten about by national media.

This isn't just a Titans problem though, it is something that plagued the Nashville Predators for long stretches as well.

They were rarely in the mix for any big-name free agents, and even when they were pushing for the Stanley Cup, the biggest names on the roster were defensemen and Pekka Rinne (the NFL equivalent of linemen from an excitement standpoint), and of course Mike Fisher who was en route to hanging up his skates.

As long as the Titans and Predators continue this model, they will continue to be brushed aside by national pundits. Fans have every right to wonder if this will ever get better...or at least they did before this offseason.

Starting in March with NFL free agency, and bleeding into July with NHL free agency, the Titans and Predators have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on big names that can make instant plays for their teams.

Bringing in players like Steven Stamkos, Calvin Ridley, Jonathan Marchessault, L'Jarius Sneed, Brady Skjei, and Lloyd Cushenberry instantly raises the profile of the city, and with that attention comes new expectations.

As much as the teams might try to slow play it, the Titans can't bring in all of these high-profile players and end up with a top-5 pick next season. They have to enter December with a real shot at the playoffs or else they are going to be labeled as underperformers.

Similarly, the Predators can't just settle for making the playoffs, they have to make a deep run.

Because the Titans and Predators don't play in a big city on the coast or one of the most populated cities in America, they have been considered small market teams since day one. Even though Nashville is growing rapidly, it is still right in the middle of the pack when it comes to cities with NFL and NHL teams.

Since they can't grow any faster, the only way to get more attention is to sign big names that bring eyes to these teams and win championships. For the first time in 25 years, the Titans and Predators are making their presence felt in free agency. If either of these teams turns into championship rosters over the next three years, fans can look back at this offseason as the summer when those teams took their first step toward immortality.