Titans' big contract for Oher is scary


About that four-year, $20 million contract with $9.5 million guaranteed for Michael Oher from the Tennessee Titans ...

Have I mentioned how much I like the addition of linebacker Wesley Woodyard?

I'm always a skeptic and looking at this addition at the price, I'm not moving off of that.

Oher did not draw good reviews last year and that's not a great sign for a guy who was heading toward free agency.

"Michael is a big, strong, durable player," Titans general manager Ruston Webster said in the release announcing the deal. "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."

Big, check. Strong, check. Durable, check. Versatile, check.

Those are four attributes the Titans are correct to want. But Webster didn't mention a couple of other biggies, starting with "productive."

The Ravens had financial constraints, but still didn't think Oher was talented enough to make a push to keep him. Their right tackle now could be left guard Kelechi Osemele, could be a draft pick or could be Rick Wagner, a fifth-round pick from a year ago.

The Titans' primary competition for Oher looked like it would be the Raiders, whose search for tackle help was botched from the start when they backed out of a deal with Rodger Saffold by failing him on his physical.

Bill Polian isn't particularly high on Oher:

Strictly a right tackle, Oher's off-the-field story is more compelling than his play of late. He has adequate size and ability for the position but consistently underwhelmed as a run blocker this past season while showing to be very average when left alone in protection.

Polian's word isn't gospel, but that's an underwhelming review.

ESPN.com Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley has covered Oher's career since he was the 23rd pick overall out of Ole Miss in 2009. I asked Hensley if Oher has regressed in those four years.

"I don't believe Oher has regressed, he just never progressed," he said. "He's basically the same player who entered the league in 2009. Oher is durable and hard-nosed. He's a throwback 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.

"I was surprised that Oher got a deal that averaged $5 million per season. You could do a lot worse at right tackle than Oher. And maybe the market dictated paying him that deal. In my mind, if Eugene Monroe got $7.5 million per season from the Ravens as a left tackle, Oher should've received half that amount."

I made the rounds on Friday night with scouts, tackles and defensive ends to get opinions. (Low hit rate. Turns out people have better stuff to do on a Friday night than answer my texts.)

"A better Ephraim Salaam," one veteran NFL offensive tackle said. "Better right tackle than left tackle. A little overrated IMO. Long arms, good punch. Will be vastly different than [David] Stewart. Stewart was a mauler/street fighter. Oher is physically talented but not nearly as physical."

"He's not aggressive but not soft, either," an active defensive lineman in the AFC South told me. "He's pretty solid but beatable at times. ... Well at least we know we have one guy we can take advantage of twice a year for the next four years."

A scout said Oher is like Levi Brown and Gosder Cherilus.

Brown was released by Pittsburgh at the start of the month. He went to the Steelers in a trade from offensive-line needy Arizona during the 2013 season. He went on IR 11 days after Pittsburgh acquired him.

Cherilus got a giant free-agent contract last year from Indianapolis: Five years, $34.5 million with $15.5 million guaranteed. He played pretty well in his first season with the Colts, who had a terrible interior line.

ESPN.com resident scout Matt Williamson said: "I would say he is a very middle of the road starting NFL RT, but at least young and has room for improvement."

Oher tweeted this Friday evening: