Five Tennessee Titans Who Must Be Kicked to the Curb Before Free Agency
Five Tennessee Titans Who Should Be Gone Before Free Agency
The Tennessee Titans missed the playoffs with a 7-9 record in 2013, which eventually led to the firing of head coach Mike Munchak and the hiring of Ken Whisenhunt as his replacement. Whisenhunt served as offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers last season, and prior to that he was head coach for the Arizona Cardinals.
The Titans do have the good fortune of not having a lot of notable players headed for free agency, with cornerback Alterraun Verner clearly the top name on the list. He had a breakout season in 2013, leading the Titans in interceptions with five along with 23 pass breakups and 57 total tackles. But Verner is the top corner available in this year’s free agent class, and many teams are sure to have interest. Tennessee is not in a position to break the bank to keep Verner on a long-term deal, and they aren’t likely to use the franchise tag on him.
Perpetually underachieving wide receiver Kenny Britt and veteran safety Bernard Pollard are also slated to become free agents, and both could be elsewhere a month from now with little effort from the Titans to retain them.
Adding talent and depth to all areas of the roster will be a priority for Titans’ general manager Ruston Webster this offseason, and some difficult decisions on some notable players who are under contract for next season are also coming.
Without further ado, here are five Titans I think should be kicked to the curb before free agency starts.
5. TE Craig Stevens
Stevens’ primary value is as a blocker, and his production in 2013 (two catches for five yards) reflects that. But his salary for next season ($3.4 million) is too much to be paying a backup tight end that doesn’t catch passes, and the Titans can surely find an upgrade.
4. DE Kamerion Wimbley
Wimbley had three sacks in 2013 in a diminished role (one start), and the Titans are paying him ($6 million next season, $19.5 million over the next three seasons) to be more of a factor than that.
3. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
There’s nothing wrong with Fitzpatrick as a backup quarterback, and he wound up starting nine games in 2013 as Jake Locker again struggled to stay healthy. The Titans could create some cap space by releasing Fitzpatrick, and if they’d like to bring in some real competition for Locker a younger signal caller would be a better fit.
2. WR Nate Washington
Washington had 58 receptions for 919 yards and three touchdowns last season, but he is due to make $4.8 million next season and the Titans look likely to give Justin Hunter a chance to take over as their No. 2 wide receiver. Simply put, Washington is an ordinary talent and his salary can be allocated to a bigger area of need if he is let go.
1. RB Chris Johnson
With diminishing production (a career-low 3.9 yards per carry in 2013), questions about his effort level and a growing tendency to blame his teammates for his struggles, Johnson may be on thin ice with the Titans regardless of any financial considerations. Add in an $8 million salary for next season and it looks like a matter of when, not if, he is released.