Tennessee Titans 2013 Free Agency: Top 10 Players to Target
What Free Agents Could Help the 2013-14 Tennessee Titans?
Good news, Tennessee Titans fans: Peyton Manning won’t test free agency during the 2013 NFL offseason. Ownership won’t derail everyone’s plans all for the pursuit of a 36-year-old quarterback. This offseason, all the chaos will hopefully come from adding quality players to a lackluster roster that won just six games during the 2012-13 season.
Normally, the Titans aren’t a major player in free agency. That could change this offseason. Coaches and management are facing a do-or-die season. If they want to secure job security beyond Jan. 2014, then they must reach the playoffs. At age 90, Bud Adams doesn’t have much time to witness his franchise’s first Super Bowl championship.
What kind of moves can propel this team from six wins to whatever amount is necessary for a playoff berth (probably 10)? They’ll have approximately $19-20 million of cap space to fix voids on their rosters. While they’ll try fixing most of those through the 2013 NFL Draft, there’s no doubt that they’ll use free agency.
There are plenty of holes to address. How much money will they save when they restructure the contract of Matt Hasselbeck? What will they do for No. 2 running back, return specialist, tight end, offensive guard or offensive center, defensive line depth, linebacker depth and outside cornerback? What do they fix in free agency and what do they fix in the draft?
This slideshow features 10 free agents who the Titans should target. This doesn’t include restricted free agents or any unrestricted free agents who played for the Titans during the 2012-13 season. I’ve tried adding a lot of affordable players, not just every high-priced player in the market.
No. 10: Martellus Bennett (Tight End)
For the most part, I’m including Martellus Bennett because he’s a selling point for another player on this list. Bennett probably wants more money than I’d want to see the Titans pay for a tight end. He’d join Craig Stevens and Taylor Thompson.
The 26-year-old tight end finished the 2012-13 season with 55 receptions for 626 yards and five touchdowns. When compared to Jared Cook, Bennett is a more-complete tight end because he’s a better blocker.
No. 9: Cedric Benson (Running Back)
What do the Titans want out of a No. 2 running back? Cedric Benson would give them a short-term option as a violent runner. If Chris Johnson ever went down, Benson is capable of carrying the load. He shouldn’t cost much more than veteran’s minimum.
No. 8: Peyton Hillis (Running Back)
Another option for No. 2 running back is Peyton Hillis. Hillis has a history of solid games against the Indianapolis Colts. That alone gives management two reasons to consider him. He’ll probably come cheap after two disappointing seasons. He’s worth a look.
No. 7: Erin Henderson (Linebacker)
More depth is needed at linebacker. Colin McCarthy hasn’t shown that he can stay healthy for any period of time, much less an entire season. Erin Henderson is a versatile linebacker who could basically replace what Will Witherspoon did as a super-sub and backup nickel linebacker.
No. 6: Alan Branch (Defensive Tackle)
Alan Branch could fit into a rotation of defensive tackles with Jurrell Casey, Mike Martin and Karl Klug. At 6-6 and 325 pounds, the Titans could use Branch in short-yardage situations and toward the goal line.
No. 5: Jerome Felton (Fullback)
If for some reason Jerome Felton doesn’t re-sign with the Minnesota Vikings before Mar. 12, the Titans should at least consider him. Colin Mooney is projected as the starting fullback and he spent most of last season on the practice squad. Felton played a key role in Adrian Peterson’s historic season.
No. 4: Fred Davis (Tight End)
Fred Davis is coming off a season-ending Achilles’ tendon injury. Davis is a good receiver who isn’t a complete flop as a run-blocker. He’s similar to former Titans tight end Alge Crumpler. He’s a good and affordable fit with what they have now.
No. 2A: Andy Levitre (Offensive Guard)
I skipped Slide 3 and did Slide 2A and 2B instead.
Andy Levitre or Louis Vasquez would’ve been No. 1 on this list had there not been such a wide selection of options for interior offensive linemen. Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper, Barrett Jones or Travis Frederick are other interior offensive linemen who are capable of strong trench play with Mike Munchak and Bruce Matthews coaching them.
No. 2B Louis Vasquez (Offensive Guard)
Management and the scouting department will get the benefit of the doubt on whether Levitre or Vasquez are the superior fit.
No. 1: Michael Bennett (Defensive End)
Michael Bennett and Martellus Bennett are brothers. Both are respectable players who could help whoever signs them. Martellus has made it know that he wants to play with his brother. Reuniting these brothers—and offering two solid paychecks—could net you these fine football players.
The 6-4 and 274-pound defensive end finished the 2012-13 season with 41 tackles, nine sacks and three forced fumbles. Michael has been compared to Derrick Morgan, a respectable pass-rusher who excels against the run. The Titans could use more bulk on their defensive line.
With Morgan and (Michael) Bennett, the Titans could use Kamerion Wimbley on third downs and obvious pass situations. That would keep them fresher toward the latter stages of games. It also gives them an insurance policy for injuries.
A defensive line with Morgan, Casey, Martin and (Michael) Bennett may not have any star names—but assuming everyone stays healthy, they’ll wreak havoc in 2013.