Rumor has it the St. Louis Rams are hot on the trail for former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt.
If this were 2009 or 2010, this pursuit would be a lot more exciting. In 2009, his rookie season, Britt caught 42 passes for 701 yards. He followed that campaign with another 42 receptions and 775 yards in 2010 – in just 12 games.
Alas, the 2014 version of Britt comes with more question marks than answers. There is the injury history, most notably a torn ACL/MCL in 2011 from which Britt has never seemed to fully recover. And then there’s the rap sheet. Nine brushes with the law since entering the league.
But in the NFL, potential outweighs most transgressions (even if there’s nine of them). Britt is 6’3”, 210 pounds. And at 25 years of age, he should theoretically be entering the prime of his career. It’s no wonder teams see him as a short-term, low-risk lottery ticket.
But he’s a gamble of which the Rams should steer clear. Sure, the receiving corps could use some help. After two drafts under the Jeff Fisher/Les Snead regime, the team still has yet to find a number one receiver. However, it’s foolish to think that Britt could step in and fill that role.
Last year, the former first round pick clearly fell out of favor with the Titans coaching staff. He was targeted only 35 times during the year, and caught 11 of those passes. Missed blocks, dropped passes and overall uninspired play led to Britt being scratched as a healthy inactive for three of the Titans’ final four games. That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence for a team that needs a leader for its developing receivers.
In addition, if the Rams were to sign Britt, he would become the latest player from Fisher’s days in Tennessee to head west to the Gateway City. The results have been decidedly mixed.
Cornerback Cortland Finnegan was solid in his first season with the Rams, but his play dropped dramatically in Year 2 of his contract. He was cut at the beginning of this offseason.
Tight end Jared Cook showed flashes of big-play ability but also vanished for long stretches. I think it’s safe to say the Rams were expecting more than 671 yards for the $35.1 million – $19 million of which is guaranteed – they’re paying him.
William Hayes is another former Titan who defected to join Fisher in St. Louis. The defensive end has proven to be an astute signing and has become a key member of the defense.
I admire Fisher’s loyalty in bringing in players and personnel with whom he’s familiar and has a history. However, there’s a fine line between signing skilled, ascending players, and merely trying to get the ol’ gang back together, especially when that gang went 8-8 and 6-10 respectively in Fisher’s final two seasons with the Titans (2009 and 2010).
Britt would seem to fall in that latter category. Sure, he potentially offers upside. But he also comes with red flags in the forms of injury and character concerns. He has experience in the NFL, but is he really going to offer that much of an upgrade over Chris Givens, Austin Pettis or even Brian Quick?
The Rams need a known quantity at wide receiver, not another question mark they hope can be the winning lottery ticket.