Tuesday, April 22, 2014
On draft possibilities at safety and tackle
By Paul Kuharsky
The Tennessee Titans have hosted Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor on pre-draft visits.
Too much can be made of those visits.
I don’t think Tennessee can draft a player in the first round who wouldn’t be expected to play right away.
While commitment to players can certainly change as a new coaching staff takes over, Michael Griffin is entrenched as the starting free safety alongside strong safety Bernard Pollard. George Wilson was a quality third safety in 2013.
If the Titans surprised as with Clinton-Dix or Pryor, would that mean the end of Griffin?
He signed a five-year, $35 million deal in 2012 that came with $15 million guaranteed including a $9 million signing bonus. So far he’s collected $19 million of that.
Griffin’s base salary kicks up to $6.2 million this year. It was $3.5 million last year.
I don’t think a scenario where the Titans draft a safety and make a move with Griffin is at all likely.
But if they decide Clinton-Dix or Pryor is their man in the first round, maybe after a trade down, they won’t have playing time for four healthy safeties.
At his best, Griffin plays a solid centerfield. At his worst, he takes bad angles and misses too many tackles.
If he were a surprising cut, the Titans would swallow $5.4 million in remaining signing bonus, which would amount to an $800,000 savings. (If the move came after June 1 or was designated as after June 1, they could take $1.8 million of that hit in 2014 and the remaining $3.6 million in 2015.)
They have quite a bit of free money right now, so it wouldn’t be a move made out of financial need.
The Titans haven’t had an offensive tackle in for a visit as far as we know.
Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews will be gone before the Titans go on the clock. Taylor Lewan is widely regarded as the third-best tackle and could be a good value at No. 11 or after a trade down.
In 2015, the Titans could be in need of a new left tackle. Michael Roos is entering the ninth year of his career and the final year of his contract, which is worth $6.625 million.
But picking a tackle at No. 11 would give the Titans three starting tackles in 2013 -- the newcomer, Roos, and Michael Oher. The Titans signed Oher, the veteran Baltimore tackle, to a four-year, $20 million free-agent contract. They could get out of that after one year and $6 million.
As with safety, it would be odd roster construction to draft a tackle given what the Titans currently have on the roster.
I think we’ll see them going a different direction.