The Tennessee Titans aren’t a storied NFL franchise, and they haven’t had the memorable plays that most teams have had. Outside of the Music City Miracle, the most memorable plays in their short history are “Mr. Monday Night” Keith Bulluck’s three interception performance against the New Orleans Saints, Justin Hunter’s game winner to end the Titans’ losing streak to the San Diego Chargers and Rob Bironas kicking a 60-yard field goal to beat the Indianapolis Colts. While it may seem like blasphemy, it could be time to let the man responsible for that last play go.
While having Bironas as the kicker has been predominantly more down than up. Every year it seems like Bironas is making too many mistakes which have ultimately cost Tennessee some crucial games. With the plethora of competent kickers available, can the Titans really afford to pay Bironas nearly $4 million?
If the Titans cut Bironas, they would gain around $3.2 million in cap space. This amount won’t move mountains in the free agent market, but when you talk about a team that already has $10 million in cap available and will likely make some cuts in the future, $3.2 million could be the difference in adding one blue-chip player or two.
Playing this scenario out, let’s say the Titans cut Bironas. Along with him, the Titans also cut the usual suspects: Chris Johnson, David Stewart, Kamerion Wimbley and Ryan Fitzpatrick. In addition to those moves, the Titans trade Nate Washington and a fifth round pick for a third from the San Francisco 49ers (the Titans’ original pick). Then the Titans also cut Craig Stevens (too expensive) and Sammie Lee Hill (doesn’t fit the new hybrid 3-4 defense). In this scenario the Titans now have a whopping $37.7 million in cap available.
With this money, the Titans could bring in Brian Orakpo, re-sign Alterraun Verner and likely bring back key pieces like Bernard Pollard and Ropati Pitoitua. So where does Bironas and his $3.2 million cap addition come into play? If the Titans can use that cap as an incentive to bring in Orakpo immediately, then they can turn their focus to matching other offers for Verner. Verner has a home in Nashville, he just had his first child in Nashville and he has very good friends on the Tennessee roster (specifically Jason McCourty who just signed a long extension last year), so it isn’t a leap to assume that he would prefer to stay put if the Titans at least match any other offers.
While there is definitely a place for him on the market, simply knowing that whatever effort a team may make to sign Verner will turn into a bidding war may turn a team’s attention to other players in this deep cornerback free agent class. If the Titans can do that then it may end up being the perfect situation for a long-term deal with one of the most talented corners in the league all because they had that $3 million guaranteed to throw at Orakpo early.