Free agency not so glorious for the Titans
The Titans didn’t sign any huge wide receivers that run like a gazelle. The Titans didn’t sign any defensive linemen that would make the Tasmanian devil seem timid. They didn’t sign a single player that wears a cape either. All the Titans fans sitting around waiting for some glorious news were totally let down.
Patience is a virtue and free agency isn’t completed in five minutes. It should be. The NFL should announce all the signings at once, have Roger Goodell read off cue cards and…well maybe not. Let’s go back to ‘patience is a virtue.” Titans fans will have to be patient.
Day one wasn’t exciting. The Titans were reportedly involved in negotiating with several “big name” free agents, but none of them panned out. Many of these “names” were signed to lucrative deals that would have likely hindered the Titans future salary cap management. It is probably best that (supposedly) they backed off and other teams signed these players to extremely large deals.
Who did they sign?
The Titans signed pieces today, not key cogs.
Special teams linebacker Nate Palmer was re-signed. The Titans also signed strong safety Brynden Trawick and linebacker Daren Bates from the Raiders. They are both special teams players that rarely contribute on defense.
Yeah for special teams? It’s hard to get excited over these. It’s essential to have good special teams and the Titans do need to improve this unit. The signings aren’t “sexy” though and lacked a certain flair.
My biggest issue is- I will predict right now that all three do not make the team. One special teams ace is usually doable at the roster crunch to 53 players in early September. Three largely special teams contributors can be rather difficult to fit into the 53 player limit. It’s possible, but I’m predicting at least one doesn’t make it.
The Titans re-signed injured Karl Klug to a new contract. Klug’s tenacity and toughness is adored by many. This is a good signing. I hope he’s healthy by the time training camp rolls around. As I wrote earlier, his injury usually takes a full calendar year to heal and he got hurt in December. We shall see, but I’m pleased to see him on the roster again.
If ever there was an “I just knew it” signing, it was Logan Ryan. In January, PK tweeted this
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) January 23, 2017
From there, apples became applesauce and things just started to seem likely.
The Titans have Brice McCain. McCain is a slot corner that can fill in outside well. He struggled a bit, but most weeks he did well in the slot. As the season closed, with injuries mounting and pass defense struggles, McCain shifted outside more often. He did fine and, at times, he played very well.
In Logan Ryan, the Titans signed Brice McCain II. In PK’s tweet, he quotes GM Jon Robinson as saying, “I liked him as a player, skill-set wise, I thought he would be a contributor/part-time starter.” A quick look of Logan’s snaps and he took more snaps over the slot than outside. That is an eerily similar description to Brice McCain.
Can Brice McCain develop into a #1 CB and lead this secondary? Probably not. He’s 30 and has probably hit his peak development-wise. Can Logan Ryan? Sure. He’s 26-years-old and it is absolutely possible that he improves. This has to be the hope for Titans fans. Ryan reportedly signed for 3 years and $30 million dollars. That’s a sizable contract, but cornerbacks have been “raking it in” in this current market. Ryan will play outside and, if salary is indicative of role, he will cover the opposing team’s top wide receiver.
Titans also added yet another defensive back in strong safety Johnathan Cyprien, formerly of the Jaguars.
I’m not a fan of this signing at all. I am open to the concept of “In Lebeau we trust,” but otherwise, this doesn’t seem good to me.
Cyprien has one good season at strong safety for the Jaguars. The Jags played him near the line of scrimmage, most of the year, and he was a terrific tackler. He was not good in coverage. Along with this, I googled his name and clicked videos. Guess what I saw? Delanie Walker “toasting” him for a nice play. Next, I head over to PFF, maybe they saw something I didn’t see. Here is their review:
John Cyprien earned the highest PFF run-defense grade we have ever given a safety, ending the 2016 season with a mark of 98.8 as he found his home closer to the line of scrimmage within the Jacksonville defensive scheme. His coverage was still far from ideal, but his run defense was legitimately impactful, and only Giants S Landon Collins had more defensive stops at the position. Cyprien’s issue is that he has just one season of improved play, and there are many other capable safeties available to fill the role.
Do you see “many other capable safeties?” That’s what I wanted the Titans to sign- one of the others.
Money makes the world go round
Titans starting strong safety Da’Norris Searcy is due to make roughly $7 million this year and next year. He plays the run and pass well. Cyprien reportedly signed for an average of $7 million. (I’m not very trusting of twitter contract #s, but rolling with it…) The Titans will not spend $14 million on two strong safeties this year, nor will they have a $7 million dollar backup. That seems so unreasonable. This could very well be the precursor to Searcy being traded.
Last week, I was hoping they re-sign Daimion Stafford (also good against the run and the pass) and possibly draft Jamal Adams. Now we’re discussing the possibility of losing Searcy and/or not drafting Adams. They won’t need three highly paid strong safeties.
I’m not a fan of this move today. I do think Lebeau can develop just about any player and is a magician. I also think there are more moves to come. It just has a whole “square peg round hole” vibe right now. Let’s see what Jon Robinson does in the coming days.
Try and stay patient. It’s tough, I understand, but free agency takes time.
As I stated previously, it’s so difficult to give credit where it’s due with free agency signings and twitter. I’m going to just give some blanket credit to Ian Rapoport, Adam Schefter, Adam Caplan, and Paul Kuharsky. Caplan was especially impressive today, nice work.