Friday, the Tenenssee Titans signed free agent offensive tackle Michael Oher to a massive four-year, $20 million deal with $9.5 million guaranteed.
With Oher, much like newly-signed defensive lineman Al Woods, it’s all about upside. Only with the offensive tackle, he’s had his chances.
The former Baltimore Ravens tackle is a typical 16-game starter. He’s durable and stands at 6’4″, over 300 pounds. He’ll likely replace veteran David Stewart at right tackle.
So what’s the issue?
Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com broke down the top free agents from the AFC North. Oher was No. 9:
9. Michael Oher, Ravens offensive tackle: His play never reached the expectations placed on a first-round pick. Oher is a throwback type of player whose strengths are durability and toughness. The biggest knocks against him are mental mistakes and pass protection.
Pass protection is kind of an issue when it comes to injury-prone quarterback Jake Locker.
“I don’t believe Oher has regressed, he just never progressed,” Hensley continued to ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky. “He’s basically the same player who entered the league in 2009. Oher is durable and hard-nosed. He’s a throw-back type of a player who has that right tackle, mauler mentality. Where he struggles is mental mistakes (false starts have always been a problem) and pass protection.
Oher appears to be a solid pickup who can develop next to the young group of offensive linemen Tennessee has put together over the past year. He’ll fit in with the mental mistakes, but as the team meshes, the Titans surely hope it will be the core of Oher, Chance Warmack and Brian Schwenke that shed those mistakes.
“Michael is a big, strong, durable player,” Titans general manager Ruston Webster said. “Like we have said with a number of players we added this week, he has versatility with experience playing both left and right tackle during his NFL career. We are excited to have Michael as part of the Titans family.”
It’s not likely that the Titans will eat this money if he struggles from the start, so Oher will have his chances.