A Method to the Madness
The Titans had a formidable defense in 2017. At times, it really seemed like they were really missing that game-changing player. Signing any of the below free agents would immediately give them the game-changing player I think they desperately need. Sometimes you have to shoot for the stars, look for them to reel one of these guys in.
ILB Zach Brown
Zach Brown simply makes sense for the Titans. At 29, Brown is coming off of back to back tremendous seasons. In 2017 Brown was leading the NFL in tackles through week 14, where his season ended. That was coming off of being second in the league in 2016.
There is not a lot of depth on the free agent market for inside linebackers. Brown has the speed and athleticism that the Titans have desperately been seeking, there is a catch though. He will not cheap to attain, look for Brown to be asking for top-tier money if he’s to leave Washington. Brown would definitely be worth the price tag if the Titans give him a call. An already tough run-defense would instantly get better with an acquisition like this.
CB Kyle Fuller
Kyle Fuller is another player that would make sense for the Titans. With Logan Ryan and Adoree’ Jackson as the staples, adding Fuller would further push what the Titans are looking for. A young core, with the ability to make plays when it matters most.
Fuller started all 16 games for the Bears in 2017, racking up some impressive stats. He managed 22 passes defended in 2017, which was good enough for second in the NFL behind Darius Slay. Fuller also racked up 68 total tackles and 2 interceptions. Adding his talent would immediately give the Titans a chance to crack the top 10 in passing defense. Add that to their tough run defense and the Titans are cooking something special up for next season.
CB Malcolm Butler
Malcolm Butler, turning 28 at the beginning of March, would be a great addition if the Titans fail on Fuller. Butler started all but 1 game in the 2017 season, registering 60 total tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. Looking past whatever reason he didn’t play in the Super Bowl, Butler would be a welcomed addition to the secondary.
While Kyle Fuller would be a better fit, Butler might be the more realistic option. Jon Robinson seems to love the out of no-where star players, making Butler a prime candidate. Coming out of West Alabama as a free agent is certainly a good story. There haven’t been many players to come out of West Alabama, 11 to be exact. Most notably being Butler and Tyreke Hill.
Just like we talked about with Fuller, adding someone of Butler’s talent would bode well for the Titans overall. Building their secondary with young studs will be the quickest way to improve this team overall.
DE Ezekiel Ansah
I know what you’re thinking, and it’s a fair question to ask. “Why is this guy suggesting all of the best free agents?” Well, to that I would say, to be the best, you have to get the best. Due to being an absurd specimen, Ezekiel Ansah would certainly qualify as “one of the best.” Coming off of a rough 2016 campaign, Ansah put up formidable numbers in 2017. Ansah racked up 39 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and a whopping 12 sacks for the Lions defense last year.
Again, the issue with Ansah would be a hefty price tag. I would expect him to be earning around 16 million dollars a year. However, this will end up not being an issue if the Lions drop the franchise tag on him. Add Ansah to this Titans front, sit back, and relax. That would be a sight to see, not only helping the defense but also helping Mariota. With a more dependable defense, Mariota will face less pressure to make big plays to guide the Titans to victory. I imagine this is a formula that any team would love to put into action.
DT Sheldon Richardson
Last but certainly not least, we have Sheldon Richardson. We talked about Ezekiel Ansah being an absurd specimen, Richardson brings the thought. At 6-3 and 294 pounds, Richardson is a force on the inside of the defensive line. Richardson is also only 27 years old, which again helps the Titans plans of getting younger on the defensive end. Richardson has the ability to play in multiple defensive fronts. This would be a key weapon for a defensive-minded head coach in Mike Vrabel.
Now, looking at Richardson’s 2017 numbers, they are a tad disappointing. Mustering a career-low 1 sack, and only 44 total tackles, there is much room for him to improve. Having a weapon like Richardson would add a new threat to this Titans front. Look for Tennessee to be highly interested in Richardson. He would be welcomed back in Seattle. However, I don’t think a franchise tag is an option, leaving the door open for Tennessee.
The Titans need to get younger, faster and more athletic in 2018. Going after any of the above 5 free agents would put them on the fast track to achieve this goal. In conclusion, it’s not realistic for the Titans to sign all 5 of these free agents, obviously. However, signing just one of them would get them a good offseason grade from me. You guys should all be getting excited about next year because the Titans aren’t going anywhere.
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