Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Reviewing my Titans plan from March
By Paul Kuharsky
In early March, I outlined a five-category plan for offseason moves for each team in the AFC South.
I considered finances, continuity, turnover, additions and the draft.
Today we’ve looked back to see how my plan and the team’s offseason lined up and how they didn’t.
Last up are the Titans. Here’s the original post.
What I got right:
Finances: “There are contracts here that need to be dealt with, but the team has about $18 million in cap room at the start and there's no need to make any moves right away. Guard Steve Hutchinson ($5.25 million base in 2013) and center Eugene Amano ($3.935 million) can't be on the roster at those salaries, and won’t be. Safety Jordan Babineaux ($1.6 million) could be in a similar situation. But the Titans have said they won’t make cap moves until replacement players arrive, and that’s sound thinking.”
Hutchinson, Amano and Babineaux all are gone. It took a while with Amano, but the Titans needed a knee issue to be resolved before they could let him go.
Continuity: “Keeping kicker Rob Bironas would be nice, but you can only spend so much on a kicker, considering how we’ve seen some kids come out of nowhere and do big things. [Since this was posted, The Tennessean reported the Titans struck a two-year deal with Bironas.] Tight end Jared Cook was enough of a problem that the Titans didn’t tag him, so they must move on from the headache. Center Fernando Velasco should be fine if he’s between better guards; the Titans should tender the restricted free agent so that he’s sure to remain. It’d be nice to keep Darius Reynaud, but if Marc Mariani returns healthy, Tennessee doesn’t need both returners.”
They let Cook walk for a giant contract with the Rams, tendered Velesaco, and kept Reynaud.
Turnover: Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks is probably not worth what he might draw on the market, so be ready to move on there. Will Witherspoon wasn’t a good enough backup for injury-prone Colin McCarthy at middle linebacker, and an upgrade is needed.
Marks wound up in Jacksonville, Witherspoon is unsigned and Moise Fokou was signed as they looked to upgrade linebacking depth.
What I got part right, part wrong:
Additions: “It’s time to be aggressive. Chase Buffalo’s durable guard, Andy Levitre, and lure him by telling him how much better he can get with the polish two Hall of Fame coaches can apply. The other big fish needs to be Michael Bennett, the Tampa Bay defensive end. He’s a big, ascending player who can play every down and would give the pass rush the boost it needs. Dustin Keller was hurt last year, but he played in every game in his first five seasons. He can be the reliable tight end working underneath for Jake Locker that Frank Wycheck was for Steve McNair. To replace Marks, roll the dice on Kansas City defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, who should be affordable and might fare well in a second act with lower expectations.”
Levitre was their primary target. But the Titans went different directions at the other spots -- Ropati Pitoitua at end, Delanie Walker at tight end and Sammie Hill at defensive tackle.
Draft: If Alabama guard Chance Warmack is on the board at No. 10, he would complete the interior line rebuild. I want a corner who can provide another option outside, a safety to groom behind George Wilson and one of the big running backs in the middle rounds who can complement Chris Johnson.
Warmack was the pick at No. 10. The corner arrived in the form of third-rounder Blidi Wreh-Wilson. The additional safety and running back came in free agency, not the draft, with Bernard Pollard and Shonn Greene.