After finally getting over the hump and winning a playoff game in their first playoff appearance since 2008 and bringing forth a new coaching regime, the Tennessee Titans are in a great position to take that next step forward. This offseason is going to be crucial for the Titans in taking the said step. A big part of their game plan, outside of the upcoming draft, has to be to be aggressive in the free agent market and strengthen a few glaring deficiencies on their roster. With about $49.5M available in cap space the Titans have everything they need to be competitive in the market. Let’s take a look at some of the free agent targets that should be no-brainers for GM Jon Robinson.
The core of the Titans offense is full of young talent and a few savvy veterans to maintain the balance. Allen Robinson is the biggest no-brainer target of all the no-brainer targets available in this uber-talented free agent market.
For starters, Allen Robinson is only 24 years old. His value may be a little bit lower since he essentially missed the entire regular season with a torn ACL. His 2016 campaign was also a little disappointing due to the lofty standards his play set in 2015. At 6’3″ he is a big red zone target for the most efficient red zone quarterback in the league in Marcus Mariota. Mariota has thrown 43 touchdowns in the red zone and still has never thrown an interception inside the 20. Robinson has caught 18 of his 22 touchdowns inside the red zone with Blake Bortles as his quarterback. Mariota is definitely an upgrade at the quarterback position and pairing Robinson with talented second-year wide receiver Corey Davis seems like an absolute win for the Titans.
Pairing talented, explosive, and efficient wide receivers with Davis seems like an optimal move for this Titan offense poised to take a step forward this season. Jarvis Landry is a perfect compliment to pass catchers Rishard Matthews, tight end Delanie Walker, and Davis. Landry may not be the most dangerous touchdown target, but he does have 22 during his short four-year career with the Dolphins including a career-high nine touchdown catches this past season.
In two of his last three seasons, Landry has at least 110 receptions, 110 in 2015 and 112 in 2017. He is the perfect safety valve option for Mariota as well as a perfect bubble screen option, which both Mariota and Landry excel at. New offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur has been quoted as saying he believes in screens and he believes in play action. Landry is a perfect receiver for both and Mariota is at his best when both are working. Landry has to be on the Titans radar this season.
Joe Looney, the four-year offensive guard that has been part of the Dallas Cowboys highly touted offensive line is an unrestricted free agent this season and fits the bill for the Titans.
Tennessee has boasted a powerful offensive line in their own right the past two seasons. However, this season there was a noticeable regression in the forward push of the interior part of the offensive line and the running game struggled a little bit as a result. With the young, talented bruiser Derrick Henry poised to take over the reins as the feature back for the Titans, bolstering the interior offensive line seems to be something the front office should address.
In his first two seasons with the Cowboys, Looney has played over 700 snaps and has played just over 200 in the last two seasons. Looney played in all 16 games this season but only played 97 snaps, 65 less than the previous season which saw Looney miss some time with an injury. This could be the Cowboys way of easing Looney out and looking to go in a new direction and the Titans should definitely scoop him up.
With all signs pointing to Demarco Murray’s time with the Titans coming to a close, the Titans seem to be needing a new change of pace and third down back. Lance Dunbar has spent his last season with the Los Angeles Chargers after being a long time part of the Cowboys backfield.
Dunbar only played in four games this season for the Chargers after spending the start of the season on the physically unable to perform list due to a knee injury. Even upon his return, he saw a minor role in the Rams offense that is clearly centered around running back Todd Gurley. Dunbar saw only 11 rush attempts and one reception in his four games.
Him to Titans makes all of the sense in the world. He and fellow free agent target Joe Looney have instant chemistry with one another after their shared time and success in Dallas. Dunbar is an excellent pass catching back and has great vision and quickness. Pairing Dunbar with Henry gives the Titans a much-needed thunder and lightning punch in the backfield of an offense that’s built around the running game.
The 2018 Season
The 2018 season can’t get here fast enough. There are so many reasons to be excited about the Tennessee Titans future. The front office, led by Jon Robinson, clearly is dedicated to helping the Titans take the next step and acquiring just one of, if not multiple, of these free agents will provide a major boost to the organization going forward.